CHICAGO -- White Sox fans have tried to forget the final 15 days of the 2012 season, when the club closed out a successful overall run with a dismal 4-11 fade and watched a three-game American League Central lead on Sept. 18 disappear.
A surprise 117-day stint on top of the division was wiped out by an forgettable finish. But second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday to make sales calls to season-ticket holders in advance of this weekend’s SoxFest, believes that late-season disaster will serve as a 2013 learning experience for the team.
“We all pressed a little bit at the end. You could see that,” Beckham said. “It wasn't a lack of drive, it was too much try. So that was kind of the issue there.
“We're definitely wanting to do better than that this year. It wasn't for a lack of effort. It was too much effort, and I know this pretty well: When you try too hard, the production goes down. It's just something we have to learn from.”
Beckham closed his assessment with a bold prediction for 2013.
“If we get in that position this year,” Beckham said. “I bet we won't do it.”
Youth, experience balance bullpen
CHICAGO -- When Matt Lindstrom’s free-agent deal with the White Sox becomes official, the South Siders will have a solid balance of talented young hurlers and accomplished veterans in their bullpen. Lindstrom joins the veteran side with Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton, while closer Addison Reed leads the youthful charge with Nate Jones and Hector Santiago.
Bobby Thigpen, the team’s new bullpen coach who recorded a then Major League single-season best 57 saves in 1990, believes that mix could lead the White Sox relief core to lofty heights.
“How good can the group be? Best in baseball,” Thigpen said. “We got some young guys. We’ve got a couple older guys that I think helped them a lot last year, having Matt and Jesse there. We’re going to look for them to give them that role and then hopefully I can do my part and help the young guys come along like they should.”
Beckham not concerned by Keppinger's presence
CHICAGO -- Despite Jeff Keppinger having played 307 games at second base and 152 at third over his eight-year career, Gordon Beckham isn’t worried about the free-agent addition being brought in to eventually or even immediately replace him.
“If they wanted him to play second, they probably would have traded me,” Beckham said. “He's great player and a Georgia Bulldog. So I’m sure we will have a lot of fun with that.
“I know I can play a great second base, they know that too. You just get the bat going like I think it will and it will be a great year.”