Remember when the overarching concern about Gordon Beckham was whether his unusual amount of rookie confidence would rub Ozzie Guillen the wrong way?
I miss that Gordon Beckham. The one we have right now ... well, let Scott Merkin tell the story.
Proper nutrition becomes a somewhat surprising concern for Beckham. He entered Spring Training at 205 pounds, but he fell below 185 in his final September weigh-in. Part of Beckham's weight loss was stress-related, as White Sox director of conditioning Allen Thomas explained.
Part of the issue stemmed from Beckham realizing that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
"Eating breakfast will go a long way to keeping weight on," said Beckham, who felt he came into camp "a little heavy and puffy" last year and wants to be around 195 this February. "I like to sleep, and sometimes I would sleep too late and not get breakfast.
Man. Man, man, man.
Hopefully, significant stress-related weight loss is the bottom for Beckham, but there's no way to know until we see him start connecting on fastballs up in the zone.
What we definitely can't do is take his word for it. Compare what he told Merkin...
For multiple reasons, I got away from being me: not just on the field. I was mentally weak and let small things get to me. It's nice to be on the other side and feel the way I'm feeling.
... to what he said to our friend Brett Ballantini at Camp Cora last January about his four-month slump at the start of 2010:
That can’t happen, and that won’t happen again. I got frustrated, and mentally tired. [...] I was in the worst mental state of my [baseball] life. It was good to come out on top.
Plus, last spring, Beckham talked about how he added 10 pounds of muscle to increase his endurance. Now he looks back and says he came to Camelback Ranch "a little heavy and puffy." It's like we can't even believe players always show up to spring training in the best shape of their lives anymore!
That's not to say he shouldn't talk or sound positive, because that's all there is to do in the winter. Still, it all underscores just how far he has fallen. He wasn't supposed to be the third-worst hitter in the American League in his third season, and he definitely wasn't supposed to be stressing pounds away.
He's going to pick Paul Konerko's brain to figure out how to put his own aside. Considering he emulates the Captain in his mannerisms around the plate, it only makes sense.
We certainly will. I hope it's not from between our fingers.
Christian Marrero Reading Room
In case you were thinking of ways to not have to listen to Beckham's self-affirmations, this post from James is a few days old, but now I finally have a place for it.
Shane Lindsay will be at Camelback Ranch for the second straight year. This time, though, should Lindsay make the majors, it should be a lot easier for ol' Mum to fly in from Melbourne.
Gonzales thinks Alejandro De Aza will start in center field (assuming the Sox find a suitable return for Carlos Quentin), which is slightly encouraging.
Since they missed on Mark Buehrle, Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Washington Nationals are considering John Danks as a Plan B to Gio Gonzales. Remember when Kenny Williams asked Mike Rizzo about trading for a guy in the last year of his contract? Well if Rizzo comes calling, Williams should say, "What else are you going to give me besides Bryce Harper?"
J.J. comes across an old article that explores whether or not Paul Konerko had "a hip problem that might not be curable." Of course, Tommy Lasorda was the one asking that question, and by then, he was already hoping that he wouldn't look incredibly stupid for trading Konerko for an unremarkable closer.