CLEVELAND -- Jeff Keppinger is beginning a rehab assignment at Double-A Birmingham on Friday night.
The White Sox infielder has been sidelined since Sept. 2013 with a right shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery and an additional rehab process. Keppinger showed up at spring training in February with soreness in his shoulder and unable to throw regularly enough to appear in the field. He only appeared as the team’s designated hitter when he played and has been at extended spring training since. Even though he has progressed Keppinger still has much to accomplish, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Friday.
“He’s going to play down there for a while and see how that go,” Ventura said. “I know that even when he was in Arizona, he was playing games and some of them he wouldn’t make it through all of it. You are trying to make sure you get that consistent playing time at Double-A, similar to what Gordon did. You are letting him play down there and doing it over and over again so he’s in shape to be up here.”
[RELATED: White Sox plan for Sale bullpen on Monday]
Keppinger, who signed a three-year deal before 2013, had a .253/.283/.317 slash line with four home runs and 40 RBIs in 451 plate appearances for the White Sox last season.
-- Felipe Paulino is also set to begin a rehab assignment as he will start for Triple-A Charlotte on Saturday night, the White Sox said. Paulino, who is coming off Tommy John surgery in July 2012 and shoulder surgery last September, had a 9.82 ERA in four starts. He has been on the DL since April 19 with right rotator cuff inflammation. Ventura said Paulino needs to show he has strengthened him arm before the team would bring him back.
“Everyone is kind of making their way along of feeling better but nobody is ready to come off the DL any time soon,” Ventura said. “Once they’re feeling good then you make a plan on how they’re going to go out and make their way back.”
[MORE: Mark Buehrle not a fan of ever-increasing time of games]
-- The White Sox haven’t listed their starters for next week’s two-game series at Wrigley Field but Jose Quintana is expected to start Monday. If all goes well with the bullpen over the weekend, Hector Noesi could start again on Tuesday, Ventura said. Noesi was sharp through his first three innings on Wednesday, but allowed four runs in the fourth inning.
-- After they posted a 6.12 ERA in their first 18 games, White Sox relievers have a 1.79 mark over the past 11 contests. The 1.79 ERA over that span is the lowest in the American League and helped to drop the team’s season mark to 4.83.