Entering the season, Gordon Beckham said the only thing he really needed to do was stay healthy, because injuries like a broken hamate and a strained quad interfered with what should have been a productive 2013.
"I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a hitter," Beckham said. "I feel like I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I first came up and I just went out there and played. There’s something to that too, but there’s also something to make adjustments. That’s something I didn’t understand how to do, but the more I’ve understood my swing and understand what it takes to be successful, I’ve kind of tailored my swing now back to where it was.
"It has come full circle in my mind. I know it’s in there. I know there’s some good to be had and last year I would have had a good season had I not gotten hurt."
With a little more than a fortnight before Opening Day, he's already fallen behind that goal. The White Sox announced that he has a strained left oblique, and he'll be held from baseball activities for the next seven days.
Like Jeff Keppinger's injury, this is worse news for Beckham than it is for the roster, because the Sox have guys to evaluate. Marcus Semien and Micah Johnson are still in camp, and the recently reassigned Carlos Sanchez could come right back, because he played like he deserved a longer look.
However, it does muddy up the picture when it comes to determining Beckham's worth -- not just because this could bother him for a while and turn into an excuse for 2015's rebound story, but also because his name is still in the rumor mill. The New York Post's Joel Sherman wrote on Thursday that a deal involving Beckham and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was "not impossible," but this news makes it a little more improbable.