Jeff Keppinger's slow shoulder has Ventura shuffling lineup

Jeff Keppinger's slow shoulder has Ventura shuffling lineup
March 9, 2014, 6:45 pm
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PHOENIX — The White Sox have had to do more roster shuffling as Jeff Keppinger’s surgically repaired shoulder is behind schedule.

Because Keppinger isn’t ready for the field, White Sox manager Robin Ventura used him as the team’s designated hitter Sunday and plans to again on Monday. Ventura said Keppinger is slowly progressing and he’d like to get him as many as four at-bats per game.

With Jose Abreu, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Andy Wilkins on the roster, Ventura has to mix things up. Dunn sat a second straight game Sunday and Konerko also will receive two days off, Ventura said.

“(Keppinger’s) arm, it’s been slower than you would think but it continues to get better,” Ventura said. “Having some experience with it, sometimes it takes a lot longer than you would like and right now it’s a slow process. But he can hit, making sure he gets his at-bats so when his arm does get healthy.”

[MORE: White Sox: Little rust for Daniel Webb after layoff]

Keppinger had shoulder surgery in September and thought he’d be in good shape by mid-December at the latest. But he reported some stiffness after he arrived in camp last month and the White Sox decided to take the process slow. Ventura isn’t concerned about anything but at-bats for Keppinger, who has said he’s unaffected at the plate.

“I remember having the same thing, a year where it took a long time to get the shoulder in shape,” Ventura said. “Once he’s there you feel pretty good about it. Just the timing of hitting and things like that, you want to get him his at-bats.”

Keppinger walked and had an RBI groundout in four plate appearances Sunday’s 2-2 tie against the Oakland A’s.

Other notes

— Pitcher Jose Quintana was in good spirits Sunday, one day after he suffered a left shin contusion, courtesy of a Geraldo Parra line drive. Quintana still hopes to stay on track for his next start Thursday and should know more by Monday.

Quintana performed normal baseball duties Sunday, including his throwing program work.

“I feel a little bit of pain, but it’s normal for the first day. Tomorrow it will be ok,” Quintana said. “But I feel really good right now.”

[RELATED: Erik Johnson looks sharp again in second start for White Sox]

— Micah Johnson scored both White Sox runs and had a single in his only plate appearance. Johnson entered the game as a pinch runner.

— Jake Petricka struck out one in a scoreless inning for the White Sox. Cody Winiarski also pitched a scoreless inning.

— Outfielder Dayan Viciedo went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. Matt Davidson had a sun-aided double to left in four at-bats.