Tim Beckham Set to Return to Crowded Tampa Bay Rays Infield

By David Hill
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 19: Tim Beckham
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 19: Tim Beckham /

Tim Beckham is set to return to the Tampa Bay Rays shortly. The only question is: where will he play?

At the start of the year, Tim Beckham was vying to become a super utility player for the Tampa Bay Rays. Matt Duffy was expected to be ready early in the season, with Nick Franklin possibly holding down the fort until he returned. However, Beckham got off to a solid start in Spring Training, and ended up seizing the job for himself.

Given the opportunity, Beckham exceeded expectations. Although his strikeout rate is higher than one would like, he had still produced a respectable .274/.327/.433 batting line, hitting 11 homers and stealing five bases. Beckham was even surprisingly decent at short, although he would not make anyone think of Ozzie Smith with his play.

Since Beckham was placed on the disabled list with his sprained ankle, the Rays situation has changed. Adieny Hechavarria has been brought in to play short, giving Tampa Bay that defensive presence they like. Meanwhile, Brad Miller is back at second, having returned from his own stint on the disabled list. With Beckham returning, the Rays have a crowded middle infield situation.

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Tampa Bay appears to have found a solution, at least, for now. Once Beckham returns, he is expected to see most of his action at second base, although Miller will also get a lot of playing time. While the Rays are not saying that it will be a platoon, such a move could be in the cards. With Miller batting lefthanded, and Beckham a righty, such a move could make sense.

Based on their career performances, this may be what the Rays are envisioning. In 511 plate appearances against lefties, Miller has a .227/.285/.333 batting line with just six homers. Meanwhile, in his 304 plate appearances against lefties, Beckham has a .261/.313/.435 batting line with nine home runs. A platoon certainly makes sense.

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The Tampa Bay Rays will find a way to get Tim Beckham back into the lineup. A platoon at second base may be the best way to get him regular at bats.