"His arm, it's been slower than you would think," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Keppinger's rehab. "But it continues to get better. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than you would like and right now it's a slow process. But he can hit, so I'm making sure he gets his at-bats."
After undergoing a debridement of his right shoulder Sept. 27 at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Keppinger was expected to recover in two to three months and be ready for Spring Training. But while his shoulder is not at full strength, it has not hampered his hitting, per Ventura.
Ventura has not entertained thoughts of Keppinger starting the season on the disabled list with plenty of time remaining for his shoulder to get in regular season shape.
"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."
Conor Gillaspie, one of the third base candidates, earned praise from Ventura on Saturday for his overall improvement shown during Spring Training. Ventura talked Sunday about liking the strides being made by Matt Davidson, a major part of the club's young core, who scould break camp with the team despite the talent heft at that spot.
"He's making some strides I think of just feeling more comfortable," said Ventura, focusing on Davidson's defense. "He's getting a little more confidence as he's over there that it just looks better. The preparation, pre-pitch routine is getting a little better and he's getting off the ball a little bit.
"When he hits it, it's going to go a long way. He's a big strong kid. We seem to have a lot of those guys so sometimes you don't notice it because we have a lot of big guys around, but he has some pop. He has pop the other way and he just needs time. He needs to be able to play."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.