Keppinger has played in just six Cactus League games at designated hitter, basically because the pain only comes when he tries to throw the baseball. It's a necessary skill needed for a player the White Sox envisioned helping them this season from third to first.
Test throwing took place on Tuesday for Keppinger and while he characterized it as fine, Keppinger only threw at 50 percent. The next day he was experiencing pain.
"Sharp pain," Keppinger said. "The doctor that did my surgery is here now, so we're seeing if he knows why it's happening. I'm doing all the right things, but it's just a matter of time of body and mind, I guess. I don't know.
"I get pinching in the back when my arm goes back hard and I'm trying to put more on the ball. I can't come forward because it hurts so bad. If I just sit there and throw soft, I don't feel anything. But as soon as I try to put five or 10 percent more on it, it bites sharp like a stabbing pain.
"Even in my rehab in the offseason, I have never made it past 90 feet throwing," Keppinger said. "I've got to get it to where its pain-free first and then I can start trying to back it up from there. But the strength is there and the flexibility is there. I have to get rid of the pain somehow."
A Spring Training MRI confirmed what Keppinger knew from last year -- the rotator cut and labrum are fine and structurally everything is good. But his shoulder is pulling forward and causing his shoulder to pinch when it comes back down every time.
"Until my body wants to adjust and get right, I guess I'm going to keep doing it," Keppinger said.
Marcus Semien appears to be the next man in line on the roster with Keppinger out of action, although Leury Garcia, Alex Liddi and Matt Davidson also are in the mix. The White Sox won't rush Davidson, their third baseman of the future, and need more versatility out of this roster spot that the other three players provide.
Another spot could open if Gordon Beckham and his strained left oblique are not ready to break camp. Meanwhile, Keppinger remains frustrated after having a surgical procedure in late September that he thought would fix the issue.
"I was really hoping to come in this year and be pain-free and be able to play," Keppinger said. "Now, here I am looking at basically staying here while the team leaves. I didn't really play in many games, DH'd when I did. It's tough."