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Rays’ Tim Beckham: Set to open season as starter

Beckham is set to open the season as the starting shortstop in the wake of Matt Duffy’s (heel) continued absence, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. “I think he came in very motivated and has basically taken to an opportunity to make the most of it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Beck’s always been a guy who’s been adamant about playing time, and he’s earned some playing time, no doubt about it. We’re happy for him.”

The mercurial utility man has enjoyed an excellent spring, hitting .306 with four doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBI, six walks and eight runs. Beckham has also been making plays in the field and perhaps just as important, has displayed a stellar attitude and work ethic. Both of those traits have been questioned in the past, such as the lackadaisical play Beckham exhibited in late August that earned him a demotion to Triple-A Durham for the balance of the season. Barring any unforeseen personnel moves, the 27-year-old is projected to start the season at shortstop and eventually slide into what should still be a sizable utility role when Duffy returns.

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