Waiting for his flight back to Georgia following four days at “Camp Cora” in south Florida, Beckham said his first-half struggles last season were self-imposed and his hand injury from late last season is a thing of the past.
“The way I have dissected the whole situation, there was a lot put on my plate from myself and others,” Beckham said about his attempts last year to build off a strong 2009 season. “When I didn’t hit immediately, mentally I went into panic mode. That happens but it won’t happen again.
“It’s one of those things where I got in a bad place and was mentally frustrated and mentally tired. If there was any mechanical flaws, we fixed those. Once I got out of my own way it was easy.”
Well maybe not easy but easier. It still wasn’t all smooth sailing. He was hit in the hand by a pitch and struggled with the ensuing injury over the final month, missing a lot of playing time. That hand injury was bothering him as late as last month.
“I had to break up some scar tissue in the middle of December,” he said. “It had been bothering me and I went in to hit the next day and it was fine.”
Agreeing with bench coach Joey Cora, who said Wednesday that the White Sox could have one of the best fielding infields in baseball, Gordon likes what he sees. Beckham, Alexei Ramirez and Brent Morel all got in some work at “Camp Cora,” working out on the field in advance of spring training next month.
“We looked good and we have big aspirations as an infield,” Beckham said.
Ramirez, in particular, was noticeably different. Beckham said the svelte shortstop, who hit 18 home runs last season and had a .431 slugging percentage a year ago, added even more muscle.
“He looks to have gained muscle and it’s pretty exciting,” Beckham said. “I think some guys have hit more than I have (this offseason) but everybody is ready and excited and that’s important. When you have guys that are prepared and exited that’s a good combination.”
With Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn set to lead an offense with plenty of power potential, the White Sox already and being labeled as division favorites in some circles. Does that cause any extra pressure?
“No, it doesn’t add pressure,” Beckham said. “I think that we have a big payroll, so what. I get the feeling [the guys] just want to get out and play. That’s way more important that payroll. This season is looking up and everybody is excited. It’s hard to explain past that. There is buzz from players and coaches.
“Getting around Joey, he’s excited and it’s a fun time. It doesn’t add pressure it adds personnel.”