GLENDALE, Ariz. --- Now eight weeks into his rehab, Jeff Keppinger likes how his ankle has responded thus far.
The White Sox infielder singled in his first at-bat and finished 1-for-3 in an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. Keppinger, who was the team’s designated hitter Sunday, will play in the same role again on Monday when the Sox travel to Scottsdale, Ariz. to face the San Francisco Giants.
While compared to a normal spring, Keppinger is still behind with his throwing, but the veteran knows he has plenty of time to get up to speed after breaking his right fibula in November.
“I haven’t had any swelling,” Keppinger said. “All activities have been full go to do. I haven’t had any set backs with the ankle. I’m sure I’ll be out there in a few days. It’s basically just building up my arm, being able to throw the ball across the infield. I wasn’t able to push off pretty much until I got down here so I’ve had two weeks to start throwing. As soon as I get it up strong enough, then they’re going to throw me out there. Since we’re down here early there was really no rush to try to get it in super fast.”
Keppinger said his biggest issue is shifting directions on the bases, specifically when he takes a secondary lead. But he hasn’t had any issues planting in the field and likes how he has come along.
Thornton back on track
Matt Thornton thinks he’s headed in the right direction after a bullpen session on Sunday.
The White Sox pitcher, who isn’t scheduled to pitch in a game for another 10 days, felt no discomfort in his left elbow during a 35-pitch performance. The effort closes a week in which Thornton was earlier sidelined with elbow inflammation and had an MRI performed. The MRI showed no structural damage and Thornton said he has no long-term concerns about his health.
Thornton believes he’ll stay on track after he was able to throw all of his pitches successfully. The veteran, who tied a career-high with 74 appearances last season, is next scheduled to throw batting practice on Wednesday.
“It went great,” Thornton said. “No problems at all. Feeling good. On normal schedule I was before. … Aside from being numb from the cold and wind, it’s fine. Everything felt good. Got my work in till I felt like I was starting to fatigue and shut it down.”
-- Adam Dunn homered in his second at-bat Sunday on a 1-0 pitch. Dunn, who wants to be aggressive earlier in the count, grounded out on a 3-2 pitch in his first at-bat. “I kind of wanted to swing early,” Dunn said. “Kind of get some stuff going, and he made some good pitches. I just happened to go 3-2 and that last at-bat was something I was just going to try to get a pitch and the location I was looking swing at it.”
-- Outfielder Dewayne Wise tripled off Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. Wise was celebrating his 35th birthday.
-- Outfielder Alex Rios followed up a two-double performance with a triple in two at-bats.
-- Starting pitcher Erik Johnson, a 2011 second-round pick out of Cal, allowed a run and four hits in three innings. “It felt good to get out there against some real competitive players and hitters and getting out there in a big league game,” Johnson said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
-- Sunday’s game between the White Sox and Dodgers ended in a 2-2 tie after nine innings.