Keppinger may be headed to DL for start of season

Keppinger may be headed to DL for start of season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Without being able to play the field, Jeff Keppinger soon might be running out of consistent Cactus League at-bats as White Sox manager Robin Ventura gets closer to using his everyday lineup regularly during Spring Training's final two weeks.

But with Keppinger telling the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that his surgically repaired shoulder continues to feel tight and painful and he's not sure when he'll be able to throw defensively, a trip to the disabled list seems to be the most likely option facing the veteran utility man to start the season.

"It's probably going to push him back somewhat in trying to find him at-bats," said Ventura. "It's going to be tougher to do as we go along, with [Paul] Konerko and [Adam] Dunn, trying to find at-bats. He just needs to get healthier to be able to throw, but it's looking like it's tougher to do that if he can't throw."

"[Time is] somewhat short to be able to do that as of right now, unless he makes a miraculous comeback," Ventura said.

Ventura has used Keppinger for two straight days as designated hitter, while giving breaks to Dunn and Konerko, as Keppinger is able to swing the bat. Ventura also talked about getting him at-bats in Minor League games or "B" games.

There's no room on the active roster for him, though, without being able to play defense. Not with Dunn or Konerko, a backup catcher and Alejandro De Aza or Dayan Viciedo already committed to three of the four bench spots.

Keppinger's lingering issue could open up a roster spot for Marcus Semien, Leury Garcia or even Carlos Sanchez, who all have the ability to play third, shortstop or second. Garcia also can play the outfield.

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.