By Bruce Levine
(CBS) — The White Sox welcomed back two of their injured players in the last two days. Adam Eaton returned to the lineup after missing five games with a strained hamstring. Gordon Beckham was back in the starting lineup for the first time this season on Thursday. He pulled an oblique muscle in his side in late March and tweaked it again in his minor-league rehab (Beckham was 0-4 with three strikeouts against Detroit ).
Catcher Tyler Flowers was one of three White Sox hitters in among the league leaders in batting. Flowers, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo are all hitting over .340. Flowers entered the season with a lifetime .200 average in 529 at bats (he hit .275 in the minors ).
Flowers lost 10 pounds in the off season in preparation for 2014. “I reverted back to some of the hitting work I did when I was younger,” Flowers tells me. “I went back to my natural stride and natural load before I take my swing. That is what Trick (batting coach Todd Steverson) brought up and looked at, to try to help me rediscover. I don’t like talking about this stuff, but I understand the curiosity of it.”
Beckham was dealing with the fact he missed most of April in both 2013 and 2014. The second baseman missed more than 50 games in 2013, due to a Hamate bone break in his hand. He also strained a quad toward the end of the season.
“Injuries are what they are,” he said. “I don’t get down over things I cannot control. It is frustrating to miss games, but I would have hurt the team if I was here playing less than 100 percent The injuries are behind me now, so I have to go play and hopefully stay injury-free.”
Beckham had an interesting take on Marcus Semien and his solid play at second base while Beckham was rehabbing. He related that any teammate doing well was a plus for the team and not a threat for him or any other teammate, as far as losing their position. Manager Robin Ventura said that nobody will lose their job because of injury.
General manager Rick Hahn had no update on injured pitcher Nate Jones’ back problems. Jones went to see a doctor on Monday and had an epidural to relieve the pain . A MLB source told me that Jones has a lower disc problem in his back. No timetable has been set for Jones to return to baseball activities.
MLB has done away with the new transfer rule. The rule was absurdly and incorrectly being enforced, saying that a player must remove the ball cleanly from the glove to record an out. Baseball’s better minds prevailed and returned to the old way of establishing an out. This is done by just holding a ball for a reasonable period of time regardless if the ball is dropped on a transfer to throw it.