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Saving Private Beckham

CLEVELAND – The one positive about Gordon Beckham right now is he’s hanging in there.

How long will that continue? Well, the make-up of the man continues to be tested.

“He’s a really tough kid, he really is,” White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said of the second-year player. “He’s just going through a learning process of how to deal with a few bad games, a few bad weeks, a bad month, and he’s going to play in this league for a very long time, and be a great player. You’re talking about a guy that has never had any failure to speak of.

“Last year [after Beckham was called up], there was a little stumble. Once you come out of one of these, like he’s coming out of it right now as we speak, then you always have that in your back pocket for the rest of your career. The panic level he experienced this year, next year that won’t be there because he will always know that, ‘Hey, I don’t need to panic here because look at me last year.’ ”

Not that Beckham isn’t searching for ways to deal with it now. He’s gone from changing his at-bat music to currently displaying a mini-goatee – at least as much facial hair as a 23-year-old can muster.

The good news in his struggles is he seems to have overcome the denial stage, now entering the realization part of the process.

“I mean what can you do? There’s nothing I can do about the numbers,” Beckham said. “Just take each day, build on that day and try to keep having good games. There’s nothing I can do about where I’m at. I feel like I’m hitting better than my average shows, that’s for sure. Maybe not much better, but better. I’m not like suicidal-level bad, but it’s baseball, it’s not easy. No one said it was easy.”

Walker sure hasn’t.

“Most every player in this game has gone through it, but usually in the minors, not at the big-league level for the first time,” Walker added. “I don’t know if people are doubting him or not, but if they are then they don’t know what they’re talking about because this is just a learning process for him.”