ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jeff Keppinger knows he’s not the only White Sox hitter off to a slow start this season.
But because he’s new to the organization, Keppinger, who signed a three-year deal with the club in December, clearly would like to make a good impression on his new team’s fans. Those circumstances mean the veteran, a .282 career hitter, has taken his slow start a little harder than he normally would.
Keppinger enters Thursday’s series opener against the Angels with a .185 average and eight RBIs.
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“You’d like to jump right in there and have success right away,” Keppinger said. “On top of that, we’re losing a lot of games by one run, two runs. In a sense I feel responsible for that where if I would have came through with some more hits in some games we would have more things going and probably came out on top in some of those games. That’s just the way this game goes: you can never be too high, you can never be too low.”
The amount of experience on manager Robin Ventura’s roster means he doesn’t have to counsel too many hitters on their struggles; they have all experienced it before. Whereas rookies might be more delicate, veterans expect ups and downs to occur. Ventura said Keppinger might feel a little more in his situation but he isn’t concerned about the second/third baseman’s long-term performance.
“You could put undo pressure on yourself but there are at-bats that are good, a line drive that is at somebody,” Ventura said. “Everything looks at numbers, but you’re looking at the quality of the at-bat. Yesterday was a step in the right direction.”
Keppinger broke a 0-for-16 spell on Wednesday with a single and a two-run double. It was only his third extra-base hit of the season.
Even with his struggles, Keppinger is confident he will get going and he doesn’t plan to change his approach of trying to stay up the middle.
“I’ve had my games where I’ve felt I’ve put together good swings and made some solid contact but nothing is coming out of it,” Keppinger said. “It’s just nice to get something to fall. I’m going to keep swinging, keep putting the ball in play. It’s just a matter of getting them to fall and it’ll come.”