CLEVELAND -- Moving around the infield has become second nature to Jeff Keppinger. But he said his slow start was in part because of lack of familiarity with some of the pitchers he has faced.
The White Sox infielder -- who has moved across the diamond to second from third in Gordon Beckham’s absence -- said he didn’t know what to expect from some of the opposition on the team’s opening homestand in Chicago. Keppinger can and has studied those unfamiliar arms as much as he could but until he has his own book he’s not as comfortable in the box.
“I’m more of like a gameplan type of hitter,” Keppinger said. “When you don’t see guys and don’t know what their tendencies are --- I try to look around our lineup and see how some of the guys get pitched, but I look at myself as a maybe a little different style of hitter as some of the guys in our lineup. I’m just trying to get a read and a feel. Teams like Washington I’ve played a few times. I’ve seen those pitchers before. I was more likely to know when I was going to get a fastball in certain counts and when I was going to get offspeed. So it’s basically a learning process. The more we play these teams and I face these pitchers it becomes more comfortable.”
Keppinger has shown how much familiarity can mean.
Since he started 1-for-21, Keppinger has seven hits in his last 22 at-bats to raise his average to .186. White Sox manager Robin Ventura thinks the types of at-bats Keppinger has had the last few days better represent how he’ll perform.
“His at-bats (Saturday) were more indicative of what you’re going to probably see over the course of the year,” Ventura said. “Ten games is a pretty small sample. But his track record and what he does, you expect that more than anything else. … Every guy goes up there and has a different feel off a different pitcher and he just didn’t seem to have a good feel.”
Keppinger does have a good sense for every position in the infield even though each has its own angles and timing. No matter where Ventura plays him, Keppinger said he’s comfortable. It’s a function of playing all over the place throughout his career.
“I’ve never even thought about it I’m so used to it,” Keppinger said. “It’s something I’ve been doing my whole career so at this point it’s kind of like second nature to me.”
Greene promoted as Sanchez hits DL
He’s only been with the organization for 10 days, but Tyler Greene is already in the majors. The backup infielder had his contract purchased on Sunday when the White Sox placed Rule 5 pick Angel Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.
Greene knew it was a good sign when the Sox contacted and then signed him on April 4 after he was cut by the Houston Astros last month. But he didn’t think he’d be in the majors this soon.
A former first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, Greene has appeared in 116 games in the majors.
“It’s been an experience the last couple weeks, going through that at the end of spring training,” Greene said. “It was the first time I experienced something like that. Kind of a new thing. I was fortunate, thankful to get hooked up with the White Sox and really excited to be up here.”
The White Sox designated minor-league pitcher Charlie Leesman for assignment to make room for Greene on the 40-man roster.
Ventura thinks a reason for Tyler Flowers’ struggles at bat is he may be pressing at the plate. He wants Flowers to think only about the little things and not the big picture. Entering Sunday, the White Sox catcher is hitless in 21 at-bats.
“Be patient,” Ventura said. “The simple things. It always comes back to the simple things. Once your head goes outside the baseball part, pressing and doing too much. Start the year seeing it and swinging it, now the reality sets in that it’s a long year and you starting going in there and trying to do too much. Just get back to the simple things.”