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Prospect Beckham tears right ACL, to have surgery

No. 1 overall pick in '08 Draft calls injury 'freak accident'; procedure set for Tuesday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays infield prospect Tim Beckham has torn the ACL in his right knee and will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Pensacola, Fla.

Though Beckham, 23, did not know how long he would be out, he remained upbeat about his situation.

"I'm looking at it as a minor setback that happened in a freak accident during a workout," said Beckham in a phone interview. "So I can't really do anything about it. I can't beat myself up over it. I was trying to get myself better. It's a tough pill to swallow, but it comes with the territory.

"Athletes get hurt. I can't do anything about it right now. [I] just [have to] play the cards that I've been dealt. I know I'm going to make it through this. God has a plan for me and he wouldn't put me in a situation I couldn't overcome. I'll be all right."

Beckham, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, hit .276 with four home runs and 51 RBIs at Triple-A Durham in 2013 before getting called to the Major Leagues for the first time in September. On Sept. 19, he made his Major League debut and singled in his first plate appearance, becoming the first Ray to get a hit in his first career plate appearance since Robinson Chirinos on July 18, 2011.

In five games with the Rays, Beckham hit .429 with an RBI and a run scored.

Beckham said the injury happened "a couple of weeks ago" when he worked out with his cousin, Toby Jackson, at his high school in Griffin, Ga. He wanted to work out with Jackson, who had tried to earn a spot with the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive end before getting waived after incurring an injury.

"He pulled his hamstring and got sent home a week later after the second preseason game," Beckham said. "So he's been getting in shape waiting for phone calls from the other teams. At the time, I was going to Griffin, and I knew he was working out, so I wanted to do some workouts with him. I don't know how it happened, man. It's just crazy."

Bekcham explained that he wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary when the injury happened.

"Just training, it was supposed to be my day off," Beckham said. "While doing a drill at the end of the workout, my tennis shoe hit the ground and I tried to cross over into a sprint. I was sprinting out of the drill, and when my foot hit the ground, my foot slipped and my knee gave."

Beckham said he wasn't that concerned initially.

"There wasn't a big pop, which is why I didn't think it was that serious," Beckham said. "I went home and iced it, and [I] was taking care of it for a week, a week and a half. It was getting better day by day. So I didn't think it was this serious. I was walking and running, doing everything on it, so I didn't think it was as big of an issue as it was. But I still felt discomfort after a week and a half, a couple of weeks. So I let the team know about it and went about it that way."

Beckham experienced a setback during the 2012 season when he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for marijuana. He worked hard to put the suspension behind him and appeared to be on the brink of earning a spot with the team this season.

"It really does stink," Beckham said. "But I've taken some blows in my short career so far, so I'm not worried about it. I can bounce back from it, for sure."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham