Gordon Beckham and Addison Reed each showed their appreciation to White Sox season ticket holders Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field with telephone calls to thank them.
For Beckham and Reed to have that appreciation reciprocated in 2013, they must show improvement in the manner Adam Dunn and Alex Rios did that made the Sox contenders in the American League Central until the last three days of the 2012 season.
For now, the second baseman and closer will receive their share of applause Friday when they and their teammates are introduced during the opening of SoxFest at the Palmer House Hilton.
Without a massive roster overhaul, the Sox will look to Beckham, Reed and shortstop Alexei Ramirez to increase their production.
Beckham, 26, knows this is an important season for him, but he doesn't show any signs of pressure despite manager Robin Ventura declining to rule out moving newly-acquired infielder Jeff Keppinger from third base or Carlos Sanchez, the organization's top infield prospect, coming up to the majors no later than midseason.
"If they wanted (Keppinger) to play second, they probably would have traded me," Beckham said. "He's great player and a (fellow) Georgia Bulldog. There's fun with that.
"I know I can play a great second base. They know that too. You just get the bat going like I think it will, and it will be a great year."
Beckham did achieve career highs with 16 home runs, 123 hits and 62 runs in addition to exceptional fielding. His strikeouts dipped to 89 in 525 at-bats, but he batted only .234.
"People can say this all the time, but I felt like I hit better than I actually deserved," Beckham said. "I hit (balls) in play .250. That's just not having a lot of luck."
The challenge for Reed, 24, who seized the closer's role in May, will be to pitch more effectively early in counts and not turn non-save situations into harrowing moments.
White Sox expect more from Beckham and Reed
Chicago Tribune | Jan 25