White Sox' Keppinger can't shake slump
The White Sox are only five games into the long season, but many fans on social media already seem to be fed up with new third baseman Jeff Keppinger.
Signed to a three-year contract to help manufacture runs out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Keppinger is batting .048 after going 0-for-4 in Saturday's 4-3 victory over Seattle.
Stuck in an 0-for-19 slump, Keppinger is expected to get Sunday off.
"I think with Kepp, it's just a small sample," manager Robin Ventura said. "You know his track record and it'll change."
Keppinger actually started at first base Saturday, with Paul Konerko getting the day off. Conor Gillaspie made his first start with the Sox at third base, and he made the most of it.
Not only did the left-handed hitter triple and single off Felix Hernandez while scoring 2 runs, he made two brilliant defensive plays.
"My job is to come in when I'm asked," said Gillaspie, who is likely to get another start at third Sunday. "If guys need a breather or whatever, come in and do the best job I can and contribute.
"Whether it's getting hits, making plays or hitting a 20-hopper to second to score a run, that's my role on this team. I've got to keep working hard and keep trying to do it."
Gillaspie snared a hard grounder in the third inning and threw out Brendan Ryan at first base. And with Seattle threatening in the fifth, Gillaspie gloved another Ryan grounder and turned a 5-3 double play.
"Defensively, it's kind of always been my struggle," Gillaspie said. "I work very hard to do a sufficient job over there. It (double play) worked out because it was a chopper right on the bag and obviously it was a forceout at third, too.
"It worked out today. I'm glad I contributed in whatever way I could."
Seattle scored 2 runs in the eighth inning to cut the White Sox' lead to 4-3, but closer Addison Reed pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third save in as many tries.
Reed is a fastball pitcher, but the second-year reliever has been throwing more sliders. He threw the pitch three straight times while striking out pinch hitter Jesus Montero to end the game.
"This spring training I really worked on it and have been working on it right now," Reed said of the slider. "It feels good, and I'm going to continue to work on it."
Back in time:
Last season the White Sox wore the red pinstriped uniforms from 1972 during Sunday games at U.S. Cellular Field.
This year they'll wear the red-and-navy uniforms from 1983 with the block lettered S-O-X displayed across the front in tribute to the "Winning Ugly" team that finished first in the old American League West division with 99 wins.
"I think everybody is excited to wear them," Paul Konerko said. "I think everybody likes them better than the ones last year for some reason. It'll be cool.
"I think the '83 team, you still see those uniforms a lot; fans wear them. I'm sure fans will get a kick out of them and hopefully we can win games like they did in '83 because they won the division."
Two players from the 1983 White Sox — Julio Cruz and Rudy Law — throw the ceremonial first pitches before Sunday's game against Seattle.
Speaking of Sunday home games this season, ticket prices have been slashed in the upper-deck corners ($5), upper-deck reserved ($10) and bleachers, outfield reserved, lower corner and premium upper-deck boxes ($15).
Sunday parking also has been reduced, to $10.
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