At Tacoma, Beckham was batting .300 for the season and .315 with three homers and 10 RBI in his past 14 games.
MINNEAPOLIS — Veteran infielder Gordon Beckham and his magnificent head of flowing hair joined the Mariners on Monday, an arrival that could not have been more timely — for him.
Beckham replaced the injured Robinson Cano (broken bone in right hand) one day before the opt-out date of his minor-league contract. He was 0 for 4 Monday with two strikeouts.
Had Beckham, 31, not been promoted from Class AAA Tacoma, Tuesday could have been his last day in the Mariners organization.
“We were probably going to go in that direction,” he said about opting out of his contract, after a round of batting practice in the indoor cages at Target Field. “I’ve been playing well and obviously I want to get back to playing in the big leagues and compete.”
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The starting second baseman for the White Sox from 2009-14, Beckham struggled at the plate before signing with the Mariners in March 2017. After playing most of last season in Tacoma, Beckham overhauled his swing over the winter and changed his approach, trying to hit more to right and right-center instead of pulling the ball.
This spring he excelled as a nonroster invitee, batting .340 with a .990 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) but failing to wrest the utility job from Andrew Romine. Beckham kept hitting at Tacoma, batting .300 for the season and .315 with three homers and 10 RBI in his past 14 games.
“He was probably one of the tougher cuts we had in spring training, because he really played well enough to make our team, but we had committed to Romine as our utility guy,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “I’m really glad Gordon Beckham decided to re-sign with us, and carry over what he was doing in spring training right into Tacoma.”
Cano, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday, headed to Philadelphia for a Tuesday morning appointment with a hand specialist to determine whether he needs surgery and how long he will be out. Cano broke the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand Sunday in Detroit when he was struck by a pitch.
“This is really unfortunate for the Mariners to lose a guy like Robby, but I relish this opportunity,” Beckham said. “I hope I can be a small piece of what Robby is and fill his shoes for a little bit.”
Though Servais said Dee Gordon, a Gold Glove-winning second baseman in Miami, will remain in center field, that might change if Cano’s absence stretches beyond a month.
“We talked about it a little bit,” he said. “We’ve committed to Dee Gordon in center field. He’s had some highlight moments and moments that haven’t gone as smoothly. For him and the long-term future of this ballclub, Dee Gordon is our center fielder.”
• James Paxton was named co-American League Player of the Week for May 7-13, a nod to his no-hitter in Toronto. Paxton shared the award with Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor. Paxton won for the third time in two seasons, joining Hall of Famer Randy Johnson as the only Mariners pitchers with three such awards. “Someone mentioned I was next to him now with three of those,” he said. “It’s an honor to have yourself mentioned next to that guy any time you can.”
This was Paxton’s first time back to Target Field since the eagle Challenger landed on his shoulder here April 5. There were no eagles in sight Monday. Only Twins. And raindrops.