Friday, February 28, 2014
Beckham has eyes on No. 2 hole
By Doug Padilla
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Gordon Beckham doesn't mind hitting in the No. 8 spot this spring, but it doesn't sound as if he wants to build a permanent residence in that neighborhood.
Manager Robin Ventura already has said that he isn't fixed on a No. 2 hitter just yet, although he did have Alexei Ramirez in that spot for Friday's Cactus League opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After the ninth spot, Beckham's 832 plate appearances in the second spot are his next most. Third most are his 506 trips to the plate in the eight hole.
"The two hole is probably best for me and best for the team because I can move runners over, I can do something with the bat," Beckham said before Friday's game. "I don't necessarily have to hit there. Obviously, that's up to somebody else. But I feel confident that, given the chance, I can hit there and do a good job there."
Last year's numbers told a different story, though. Beckham batted .190 with a .245 on-base percentage as a No. 2 hitter. In the eight spot he batted .325 with a .375 OBP. Further hurting Beckham's chances to move up in the order is that multiple members of the coaching staff have said they don't want to make too much out of spring training numbers.
"I was hot in June and July and then started to get some knick-knack injuries and stuff; that didn't help," Beckham said. "There's no excuse but that didn't help and that's when I was put in the two hole. It was bad timing last year more than anything."
Beckham is confident situational hitting can be his forte. It can have its mental challenges, though, since the objectives are often precise.
"There is definitely some of that and for me it needs to me more of, 'Don't worry, don't think about it, let your instincts take over,'" Beckham said. "When you're in the two hole you have to hit the way you're capable of and not worry too much about being too fine. But if the situation were important enough, I feel like I could move a runner over when I need to do it."