Apr 5, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham (15) hits a sacrifice fly ball against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Gordon Beckham's injured wrist--half-problems and half-solutions


Gordon Beckham injured his wrist Tuesday night fouling off a 2-1 Gio Gonzalez delivery in the second inning. His one-pitch test of how playing through the injury would go was a complete failure, as he swung through a 94 mph inside fastball and crumpled to the ground briefly after an ugly-looking follow-through. He quickly gathered his still-working lower half and trudged his way to the dugout, from where he would not return for the rest of the game.

Following that event, this wave of updates came:

The timetable is unknown, but obviously has the potential to balloon upon the MRI. Torn ligaments are just no good.

All injuries to starters are inherently bad, with the only comfort being that Beckham is, well, not particularly valuable. He certainly is not a key cog of the offense and while his defense is praised in these parts, it’s not lauded across the league or by metrics. On the downside, any hope for Gordon’s development at the plate is on hold for a while as he not only fights to return to the field, but return to any feeling of comfort and trust with his wrist. And if the White Sox could easily duplicate his replacement-level work, they would have done it already and probably saved themselves a couple million dollars  in the process.

Angel Sanchez came in immediately, but after two plate appearances that may as well have been carried out with a foam bat, Sanchez was pulled for and arrangement more conducive to fielding a competitive major leaguer lineup–Keppinger to second base, Conor Gillaspie to third.

Despite a crucial third inning strikeout against an outside fastball from left-hander (Reminder: Keppinger makes his hay against southpaws), Keppinger had two hits and his best game of the season, and looked alive again. It’s only fitting a new playing opportunity for Gillaspie opens up as another narrows and his improbable run to actual playing time continues.

Gillaspie–who was average-at-best in Triple-A last season–as a full-timer is not the most exciting long-term idea, and unless he finds unlikely success, the question emerges of how long Beckham has to be out before we run into Carlos Sanchez‘s reign over the White Sox keystone position. It should be a while, since Sanchez is 20 years old and has yet to compile a substantive performance record in the upper-minors. But a swift sprint through the system on the strength of a short hot streak is how Beckham got here, and only different from Chris Sale‘s voyage in context. Sanchez is 5-15 with four walks on the season, by the way.

Beckham being down for the count and Gillaspie flatlining clears the way for Sanchez, but until there’s enough games to actually understand something–and Rick Hahn admits it isn’t–a scramble to maintain the status quo with the roster filler available awaits. Until he really makes a habit of crushing International League pitching, Sanchez’s arrival is a develop-for-the-future move. We’re not there yet.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

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Tags: Carlos Sanchez Chicago White Sox Gordon Beckham