The Chicago White Sox announced earlier this week that second baseman Gordon Beckham suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a left oblique injury, shutting him down for another week. Though recent reports indicate that Beckham started taking ground balls again, chances of him returning before the beginning of May seem extraordinarily slim.
If the White Sox want Beckham to return at full strength, it’s important that they continue to exercise all precautions possible in all stages of his rehab, especially because of last year.
At 27 years old, Beckham should theoretically be in the prime of his career. However, last year he hit a strong mid-career injury slump, spending most of the season either on the disabled list or coping with an ailment beyond the typical chronic bumps and bruises of a baseball season.
Along the way, some of his productivity numbers saw minor drops, but his overall line stayed consistent with his career averages. Though his .267 average was three points below that of his rookie season, he also set career-lows in almost every offensive statistical category. Before the oblique injury struck midway through Spring Training, Beckham had a miserable line of .167/.194/.300, displaying a palpable discomfort at the plate.
Meanwhile in Chicago, Beckham’s replacement, all-around infielder Marcus Semien, started the season in an unlucky hole, going 0-for-13 in his first few games. Recently though, Semien’s stroke at the plate has shown marked improvements, and he went a combined 6-for-13 with a double and two RBI in the White Sox series against the Colorado Rockies. Baseball America ranks Semien as the No. 5 prospect in the organization this year, and he’s starting to play up to his potential.
Theoretically, Beckham is still and will still be the White Sox’s starting second baseman when he eventually returns to the major league field. But the longer Beckham remains on the DL, and if Semien keeps improving, the White Sox may find themselves using yet another platoon on the field.