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Power surge doesn't impress Rays' Beckham

Shortstop more focused on consistent, quality at-bats
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Tim Beckham tied a career-high in home runs for a single season when he went deep for his ninth long ball of the season in Tampa Bay's loss to the Mariners on Friday night. On Saturday, the Rays shortstop said he didn't particularly care about the milestone.

There are bigger fish to fry, after all.

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SEATTLE -- Tim Beckham tied a career-high in home runs for a single season when he went deep for his ninth long ball of the season in Tampa Bay's loss to the Mariners on Friday night. On Saturday, the Rays shortstop said he didn't particularly care about the milestone.

There are bigger fish to fry, after all.

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"I'm not worried about it," said Beckham, who entered Saturday's game ranked third in the Major Leagues in homers by a shortstop behind Cleveland's Francisco Lindor (12) and Houston's Carlos Correa (10).

"I just want to put consistent at-bats together, put quality at-bats together consistently, and hopefully everything plays out. I know I can drive the ball to all fields. Home runs just happen on mistakes. The object is to have a quality at-bat and hit a line drive somewhere.

"Most of all, we're playing winning baseball, and that's what matters. That's what we're shooting for."

Beckham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 Draft, is on pace to obliterate his at-bat totals from the previous two seasons. Entering Saturday, he had amassed 202 at-bats in 52 games, following seasons in which he had 203 at-bats in 82 games (2015) and 198 at-bats in 64 games (2016).

He's 27 years old and making the most of his opportunity, but there's more to it, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash.

"I don't know where we'd be without Tim Beckham right now given Matt Duffy's injury," Cash said. "Beck hasn't just filled in. He's come in and played and been a huge offensive player for us and defensive player. I think all of us couldn't be more impressed with the way he's played defense.

"We knew Beck had pop and that if he had the opportunity he was probably going to run into multiple home runs like he's doing right now, but the consistency that he's shown on defense has been by far the most impressive thing."

Beckham maintains that he isn't thinking about personal achievements, not when his team is in the thick of the American League East race and he's got a job to do every day. He also says he's not particularly surprised at how successful he's been in the early part of the season.

"I never thought I couldn't do it," Beckham said. "I always knew I could do it and I just needed the opportunities to show myself. It's been fun so far. We're playing winning baseball and that's what we want."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham