PEORIA, Ariz. — In one sense, Gordon Beckham is like any other player who re-signs with his former team.
He didn’t have to introduce himself to new teammates this spring. He doesn’t lack for friends in the clubhouse. The other day, he and his wife, Brittany, spent the afternoon at Buster Posey’s house entertaining the star catcher’s 5-year-old twins.
“I hadn’t seen them since they were babies,” Beckham said. “It was pretty funny. She’s teaching Addie to do cartwheels and I’m out there with Lee hunting ducks with Nerf guns.”
The projectiles were foam. The ducks were real. None was harmed.
In another sense, though, Beckham is still brand new to the Giants. It’s a testament to his easygoing and upbeat personality that he meshed so well with the team even though he spent just six games in a Giants uniform last season; the club acquired him from the Atlanta Braves in the final week of September to provide depth after Eduardo Nunez strained a hamstring. Beckham knew coming in that he joined the organization too late to be considered for the postseason roster. He didn’t get a hit in five at-bats. But he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw in the second-to-last game of the season — a victory the Giants absolutely needed to clinch a place in the NL wild-card game.
“I came at a good time because everybody was so tense when I got there,” Beckham said. “I had, maybe, a fresh perspective. They were having this tough second half, but I was all set to go home and here I am with a team playing meaningful games. It was easy to be excited to be there. And maybe for them, it was a good reminder that they were still in a great position.”
It also helped that Beckham already knew Jake Peavy and Conor Gillaspie, two former teammates with the White Sox. And he had known Posey since they were teammates in the Cape Cod League.
“That definitely made it less weird,” he said. “But, I mean, it was still weird.”
It’s less weird now. Beckham had such a good experience with the Giants that he re-signed on a minor league contract. When he puts down his Nerf gun, he has his sights set on a reserve role, backing up at three infield spots and providing a veteran right-handed bat off the bench.
He didn’t flinch when the coaches asked him to take fly balls in left field; he started there in Tuesday’s 9-5 exhibition loss against the San Diego Padres at Peoria — the second time he ever played a game in the outfield.
“Just one other time,” he said. “In the Cape.”
That’s where Beckham first met Posey, when they were 20-year-old teammates with the Yarmouth-Dennis club that won the league title. They came from opposite ends of Georgia — Beckham from a private high school in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, Posey from a public high school in Leesburg. Posey went to Florida State and Beckham went to Georgia. They knew each other by reputation long before they crossed paths in the Cape.
“We hit it off,” Beckham said. “We did some fishing up there. We have similar personalities. I can give him a hard time pretty much every day and he does the same to me, and it keeps him relaxed.”