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Beckham upbeat after surgery on ACL in right knee

Rays infielder expected to be out six to eight months, calls injury 'minor setback'

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Beckham's surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee went well on Tuesday, according to the Rays.

Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery in Pensacola, Fla. Beckham, 23, is expected to be out for six to eight months.

On Monday, Beckham said that he had injured his knee during a workout a couple of weeks ago. When the injury did not get better, he reported to the Rays what had happened, which led to surgery.

Beckham's setback removed any chance that the infielder could make the big league club out of Spring Training, which was a possibility based on his 2013 season.

Beckham, who was the top overall pick in 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 Rays player to get a hit in his first career plate appearance since Robinson Chirinos on July 18, 2011.

"Beckham really showed well at the end of the season when we threw him into some moments right there," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said at the Winter Meetings. "A lot of people did not expect a lot, and he handled it extremely well. Beyond the physically getting a base hit to win the game, whatever, the way he handled it emotionally, I'm so big on that. If you're going to play in Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, you better be emotionally in control of yourself."

In five games with the Rays, Beckham hit .429 with an RBI and a run scored. His 2013 season was also a nice rebound from a setback he brought on himself in '12, when he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for marijuana.

Beckham remains optimistic, despite his circumstances and the disappointment of not being able to compete for a Major League job in Spring Training.

"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. Just 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."

In addition to Beckham's surgery, the Rays reported that Minor League right-hander Ryne Stanek had surgery on Tuesday to repair his right hip labrum. The surgery was successful, and Tampa Bay expects Stanek to return to game action mid-summer.

The Rays selected Stanek out of the University of Arkansas in the first round (29th overall) of this year's Draft.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham