Beckham, Morel have been slow to join party
By DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org April 16, 2012 11:56PM
Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta throws the ball to first, where Chris Davis’ fielding error allowed Brent Morel to reach safely on a sacrifice bunt in the sixth inning Monday. Morel later scored on Paul Konerko’s two-run double.| TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times
ORIOLES AT SOX
The facts: 7:10 p.m., Ch. 26, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The pitchers: Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. John Danks (1-1, 5.40 ERA).
Updated: May 18, 2012 9:57AM
As pleasant as the early-season buzz surrounding the White Sox and new manager Robin Ventura has been, think what it would be like if Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel were off to good starts.
Beckham and Morel have looked lost at the plate and have the numbers to back it. After Monday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles, Beckham is 3-for-26 with 11 strikeouts and Morel 3-for-29 with 13 strikeouts.
Morel, in his second season, has a longer leash than Beckham, who is entering his fourth year. Should Beckham struggle, a movement to start rookie Eduardo Escobar and/or Brent Lillibridge will be heard loud and clear.
For now, Beckham’s critics need to back off.
‘‘It’s early in the season,’’ Ventura said.
Ventura knows the ups and downs of hitting from his experience as a player. He sees Beckham forcing the issue at the plate.
‘‘You’re looking at a guy who is competitive and wants to do well all the time,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘There’s a certain give and take as far as being aggressive and being patient and relaxed. He wants to do well, and I understand that. And I trust him. It’s not that he’s not a good player. He’s a great player. It will come.’’
what it’ll take
John Danks struggled with his command and walked five in his last start in the Sox’ 10-6 win at Cleveland last Wednesday, but a tuneup wasn’t needed before his start Tuesday night.
‘‘No, I just have to be more consistent within the strike zone,’’ he said Monday. ‘‘Even the strikes I did throw weren’t great pitches. I chalk it up to not having your best stuff and trying to do too much.’’
Danks’ side session Sunday was good, and his arm felt strong.
‘‘In the bullpen yesterday, everything was fine,’’ Danks said. ‘‘I’m looking forward to having good stuff [Tuesday], good command and trying to win a ballgame.’’
The cool and breezy conditions Monday (temperatures in the 40s with 26 mph winds) were more typical of what players are accustomed to at U.S. Cellular Field in April. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who grew up in Cuba, enjoyed mild weekend temps but hates the cold with a passion.
‘‘That’s definitely accurate,’’ Ramirez said through a translator. ‘‘Especially for somebody who comes from a warm climate.’’
Ramirez is batting .227 in March and April in his career, at least 40 points lower than every other month. He disdains the cold but is finally ‘‘becoming accustomed to it after four years’’ in Chicago. He went 1-for-4 against the Orioles on Monday and is now 9-for-35 (.257) with a home run.
Batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey was transported to Chicago from Dallas over the weekend and remains unresponsive while showing small signs of improvement at Rush University Medical Center.
Hickey, who pitched for the Sox from 1981 to ’83, has been unresponsive since he was taken to a hospital in Dallas on April 5 after he failed to show up for the team’s morning workout.
†The Sox and veteran right-hander Kip Wells, who was signed to a minor-league deal after pitching coach Don Cooper watched him throw in Houston two weeks ago, have mutually agreed to part ways.