CHICAGO -- Scotty McCreery is best known for winning Season 10 of American Idol in 2011. But few people know he almost became a part of the White Sox organization one year later.
Actually, he almost was a pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, as McCreery explained Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"The White Sox called me up wanting to draft me, more for a publicity stunt," said a smiling McCreery, who pitched throughout high school. "I had to fill out the draft sheet and they said they were going to draft me the last round. We had the big draft party, I waited it out, but I never heard the name called, so it's all good."
McCreery made his first trip to U.S. Cellular Field, as he was scheduled to sing God Bless America as part of his ballpark tour in partnership with Major League Baseball to promote the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. McCreery first became involved in the program by donating money to Nashville inner cities.
"A lot of my memories were growing up playing ball as a little kid," McCreery said. "I'm just trying to help those kids out in inner cities and making sure they have the opportunity to play ball as well and get to the field and get the equipment. Make sure the kids are having the same fun as we did back in the day.
"We are going out to different parks and kind of getting some publicity to make sure more people are aware of it and can help out if they want to as well. Doing that and singing a little bit. Just kind of hanging out and having fun."
Despite McCreery's love for America's pastime and his excitement for visiting the White Sox, he wouldn't have given up singing if the White Sox selected him.
"No, I was in no way shape or form a pro prospect," McCreery said. "They were having fun with it. So I went along with it for sure."
Beckham fighting through injuries to find consistency
CHICAGO -- Over the past 23 games, Gordon Beckham has just 12 hits in 86 at-bats.
That slump has dropped the second baseman's average from .313 to .267. But to be honest, Beckham really isn't concerned with individual numbers at this time of year.
"Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter what your average is when your team is this far behind," said Beckham, prior to Sunday's game against the Indians.
Whereas White Sox prospects are getting an extended September look amid the excitement of their first big league experience, this final month is a tough one to deal with for veterans with any sort of service time such as Beckham. The losses are piling up, and in the last 16 games, each setback seems to be more poorly played than the last.
Beckham's offense has been under scrutiny since the past three years didn't match his breakout rookie campaign. He found a consistent stance that he liked at the end of the 2012 season and has used it successfully in 2013.
But numerous injuries have stunted Beckham's progress.
He sustained a fractured hamate bone in his left hand in April, hurt the same wrist in a different area after the All-Star break and has been battling a right quad strain since mid-August. Manager Robin Ventura believes Beckham can and will be a solid No. 2 hitter, but the injuries have prevented any sort of accurate judgment.
"It just feels like it's kind of an ongoing thing," said Beckham of the injuries. "The quad thing has been annoying. I haven't been able to really run very well. The good news is when you don't get on base, it doesn't hurt. You are not straining it. It's just been kind of myriad things for everybody and everybody is kind of banged up.
"I was mechanically off until the last couple of games," added Beckham of his recent slump. "I feel like I've made an adjustment to get back to what I'm doing right. But you know that happens to everybody in every season. It's a little more drastic for me because of the lack of at-bats, so when you have a couple of days, weeks, like that, that's kind of what happens, unfortunately."
Beckham had found some offensive consistency, but realizes there's a higher plateau to reach with the bat.
"Definitely a step in the right direction," Beckham said. "I can be better, and obviously having more games and at-bats will help. But I can be better."
Reed maturing as closer for White Sox
CHICAGO -- Robin Ventura has seen growth in Addison Reed as closer, and it goes deeper than his saves total increasing from 29 last year to 37 this season.
"There's been times where he's tired, and you see the maturity of him getting a lot of chances in a row," Ventura said. "Even like [Saturday] night, you have to start getting him in games to make sure he gets some regular opportunities, that he gets in and gets innings."
Ventura believes Reed needs another pitch to go from a solid closer to elite. He has thrown his slider a little more this season and slightly de-emphasized the fastball, but Ventura likes that Reed has mixed in the changeup as well.
"Just the feel for his pitches and being able to have more than just one thing," Ventura said. "What separates those [elite closers] is they don't give in, ever.
"What I mean by that is guys that will throw any pitch at any time, if they do get roughed up, they come back the next day and they're still as tough as they were when they were on a roll. The closer role is such a tough job because it's instant success or fail. There's not a, 'Hey, you did kind of all right.' If you got it done, you got it done, and if you didn't, you stink. It's a lot of high-stress situations, and it's not for everybody."
Third to first
• Due to Sunday's extended rain delay, the White Sox will offer fans with tickets to the game a complimentary ticket to a home game next April, excluding Opening Day and the series against the Boston Red Sox from April 15-17.
"From a competitive balance standpoint and where the standings are right now, it was important for baseball that we played today's game," Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. "We appreciate the patience of our fans, and the offer of a free ticket to a game next April is the least we could do after they waited out the long delay."
• Avisail Garcia was scratched from Sunday's starting lineup to be with his pregnant wife. The couple is expecting its first child any day.
• Ventura said the only way to fix his club's awful defense going forward is putting in even more work toward the problem.
"We've focused on it before, and it seems like we're going to have to do more of it when we get to Spring Training," Ventura said. "It's not an easy part of the game because you can lose concentration or float or do whatever, but in the end you lose games because you can't catch the ball."