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Sophomore jinx? Beckham has no worries
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

Gordon Beckham played some second base, his new position this year, during spring training last season.

 

Associated Press

The White Sox's Gordon Beckham, right, talks with first base coach Harold Baines.

 

Associated Press

Gordon Beckham

 

Associated Press

Gordon Beckham

 

Associated Press

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Published: 1/20/2010 9:42 PM

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Sophomore jinx? Bring it on, budding White Sox star Gordon Beckham said Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

"It'll probably happen," Beckham joked when asked about the possibility of struggling in his second season after batting .270 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI in 103 games as a rookie last year.

Turning serious, Beckham said the thought of flaming out in 2010 hasn't even crossed his mind.

"A sophomore jinx is all in your head, and baseball is totally mental," Beckham said.

He was at the Cell to support the "Bring Me Home" campaign, which helps raise money and awareness for foster children and families in Illinois and is headed by Paul Konerko and his wife and Jim Thome and his wife.

"I don't feel like I'm going to let that get in my head," Beckham added.

If anything, Beckham is expecting his second season in the major leagues to be easier than the first.

Less than a year of out college, Beckham spent only 45 games in the minor leagues before getting the call from the Sox.

An All-American shortstop at the University of Georgia, Beckham was switched to third base and initially looked clueless against big-league pitching.

"I went 2-for-28 last year to start my big-league career and it doesn't get any worse than that, so I think I'll be OK," Beckham said. "I kind of feel like I'm in the big leagues now.

"At least I know where I'm going to be and what position I'm going to be playing. I think that's only going to help me get ready for the season."

When the White Sox acquired Mark Teahen from the Kansas City Royals in a Nov. 6 trade, Beckham was moved to second base. No big deal.

"I don't think it's going to be too big of a transition for me," Beckham said. "I've played shortstop my whole life. It's back in the middle of the infield and I get to be a little more athletic. In preparation, I've worked on it already.

"In three days, I really felt like I got to where I wanted to be and (Sox bench coach) Joey Cora kind of said the same thing."

In addition to the crash course at second base, Beckham has been lifting weights since mid-November. Otherwise, it has been a quiet off-season.

"It's been relaxing," said the 23-year-old infielder. "It's the first time in my life I've been able to not do anything. I've been going from summer league to college to college to summer league, then back to college, going to school.

"This is the first time I've had to relax."

Look for Beckham to be back in attack mode when spring training opens next month.

"The game comes easy for him," Konerko said. "Playing the game doesn't take as much out of him as it does other guys because he's a special talent. I think that's pretty obvious."