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Beckham more than happy to turn the page on July

The SportsXchange

Gordon Beckham will be back in the starting lineup on Friday, after the White Sox enjoyed Thursday's off day, and will get back to the business of trying to hold off Detroit in the Central Division in a weekend series against the Angels.

Beckham was given Wednesday's game off, not only to get a breather, but also to give reserve infielder Orlando Hudson a chance to get some at-bats and playing time.

But July wasn't exactly the greatest month for Beckham, as the third-year player hit only .188 (16-for-85) with no home runs and four RBI, after he had a solid May and June, hitting a combined .268 with nine home runs and 32 RBI.

The reason Beckham continues to get most of the playing time, even with a bat that has gone ice cold lately? His defensive work. Along with shortstop Alexei Ramirez, third base coach Joe McEwing is seeing a combination that he feels can be one of the best in all the league with their glove work.

"Seeing (Ramirez) from afar, I didn't see how in tune to a game he is and how much range he really does have," McEwing, a former infielder himself, said. "If anything happens during a game, Gordon and Ramirez are not surprised by it.

"They know what they're going to do with every single ball before it happens. They're comfortable in all game situations."

The White Sox coaching staff, new this season, has made it a point to pay attention to the details, and have stressed that message to the players.

So while Ramirez and Beckham have the usual piles of scouting reports on hitters, McEwing, who's in charge of positioning the infield, allows them to position themselves with certain hitters, as long as they feel comfortable.

"We go through spray charts and whatever, but at times we'll let (Ramirez and Beckham) go on feel and play in a different spot," McEwing said. "That's what you want an infielder to do. He needs to have his own feel. On the field, you see what pitches are being called. You don't see what pitch is being called in the dugout. You move on a pitch. He's in tune to what's going on.

"They're one of the best combinations in baseball. From what I see day in and day out, they're pretty special."

While the White Sox obviously hope Beckham can reboot his offense now that August has started, the chances of the second baseman losing his job, or even losing playing time, to Hudson right now seems a real long shot.

"Defensively, he's great," manager Robin Ventura said of Beckham. "Offensively, he's still in that period of trying to figure it out. He has to trust it and go with it because he's hitting it hard, but some of them are unlucky. That's the frustrating part of it when you're trying to get back."

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