Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Beckham expanding resume by getting work at 2B this spring
Posted Mar 8, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Mar 8, 2012 at 11:45 AM
PORT CHARLOTTE Tim Beckham is getting time at second base this spring, but manager Joe Maddon said this morning the shortstop is not being moved to the other side of the bag on a fulltime basis.
“We’ve been working at it just to try and give him a little more versatility,” Maddon said. “We often talk about the guys that have played multiple positions in the past, you never know what’s going to open up if there’s a need and if a guy is swinging bat well, you don’t want to say our shortstop position is fine, but we might need some help at second base, whatever. So we just want to expose him to something else.”
Beckham, drafted first overall in 2008, said he is up for the exposure.
“Whatever they want me to do I’m all for it,” he said.
Maddon said infield coach Tom Foley has been impressed with Beckham’s ability to field the position. Beckham impressed Maddon during the ninth inning of Wednesday’s win against the Yankees when he took a feed from Hak-Ju Lee and turned a double play.
“That was kind of a nice indicator,” Maddon said.
There is a precedent in the organization for moving shortstop prospects to other positions. B.J. Upton went from shortstop to third base to second base to center field. Ben Zobrist moved from shortstop to second base and right field.
Maddon said that’s not the case with Beckham, even though Lee is considered the best shortstop prospect.
“This guy is a shortstop,” Maddon said of Beckham. “I’ve really been impressed with his infield play, period. We talked to him specifically about this in our meetings to not cause any alarm with him that we don’t think he can play shortstop. We don’t. That’s not the point. We want to give you something else you can do, and if you can, that makes you more valuable down the road.”
Maddon said there are no plans on this moment to “expose” Lee to second base, because Lee is in his first big league camp and they don’t want to overwhelm him.
“It’s something we may do,” Maddon said.