Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Williams prefers Beckham's old swing

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It's no big secret what's holding Gordon Beckham back from being a productive piece in the White Sox lineup: The second baseman is chasing bad pitches, usually high or away.

"I wanted to break everything in the bat rack,'' Beckham said Friday about his 0-for-4 night in a 4-2 loss to Detroit the night before.

"I still have a lot of time. I have to find a way to help this team. We have a chance to win the division. This is not about me, it's about winning.''

Beckham, who took a .238 average in the series opener Friday against the Texas Rangers, was 3-for-24 in previous last seven games. He left four runners in scoring position Thursday, and couldn't get Brent Morel in from third with no outs when he grounded to third in the second inning Friday.

"My swings are great, my BP is good,'' Beckham said of his pregame preparation. "It's a matter of getting good pitches to hit and hitting them well instead of fouling them off -- and laying off bad pitches. It's frustrating. I had a chance to help my team win [Thursday] and couldn't do anything. But I can't feel sorry for myself.''

These are trying times for Beckham -- and pivotal ones at that. General manager Ken Williams said it's not too soon to say that Beckham is at a crossroads in his career.

"Because with his current approach I think they're going to continue to expose his weakness,'' Williams said

"I liked the swing coming out of the University of Georgia, the one that we saw when he first got here to the big leagues here where he was able to drive the ball and pound it into the right-center field gap. And any high fastball, he could get on top if it with his top hand. But again, as the general manager you sit back you have to respect the work that your coaches do and you have to respect the desire from the player as to what he thinks will work.

"It doesn't matter what I think. It's what he takes from that on-deck circle to the plate with the most confidence that's going to ultimately yield his failures or successes. I personally liked the swagger and the cock that he had of his wrists and the loading of his hands when he had the previous swing I spoke of.''

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Why can't anyone else on the coaching staff see what Williams sees about Beckham's swing?! Low hands don't work at the pro level because the pitchers throw too hard. Pitchers figure it out, like with Alex Rios, that the hitters can't catch up to the high fast ball because there is too much movement to get to that hitting area. Beckham is hard to watch because he has had success hitting the high fast ball and now he has no chance. He came to the big leagues using the top hand efficiently and now he has lost it. The Sox have had a poor track record developing their farm system hitters with an outdated philosophy. Also look at Brent Morel with 4 walks and Beckham with 22 and then check out the more successful teams and their walk totals. Something has to change because it is tough to watch someone who has had success fail because of coaching direction or lack of it. Beckham does have to share the blame because of his reported 'softness' but that's where good coaches can help, on the mental side of baseball. Thanks, Dave Rosene head coach, Jones College Prep.

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This page contains a single entry by Daryl Van Schouwen published on August 19, 2011 8:11 PM.

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