Heading into the stretch run of spring training, it seemed the Chicago White Sox would emerge from Arizona refreshed and ready for the season. Unfortunately, with less than two weeks remaining in Cactus League play, it was announced that second baseman Gordon Beckham will be sidelined for at least one week with a strained left oblique muscle.
Beckham’s injury woes are a relatively recent phenomenon. Two wrist injuries muted what could have been a productive season for him last year. First, a fracture in the hamate bone in Beckham’s left wrist sidelined him from April 10 all the way until June 2. In the second half of the season, a different wrist injury and a strained right quad dogged him from August until the season’s end. As I’ve said before, the White Sox need Beckham to be healthy and productive this season. But this new injury, along with last year’s unfortunate campaign and several younger infielders fighting their way through the farm system, could put not only Beckham’s playing time in danger, but also impact his future on the South Side.
With Beckham on the bench nursing his oblique, opportunity presents itself to Marcus Semien, one of the team’s top infield prospects who was ranked eighth in the organization by MLB.com last year. Listed behind the injured Jeff Keppinger on the White Sox depth chart at second base, Semien is primarily a third baseman who has seen time around the infield, getting innings at both second base and shortstop. Though a somewhat inconsistent hitter, Semien shows great flexibility on defense despite having an average arm. Though it is questionable whether he is major-league ready, what he does in Beckham’s absence could play a determining factor in where he begins the season, be it on the White Sox bench in Chicago or back at Triple-A Charlotte.