Shoulder surgery ended Jeff Keppinger’s 2013 season in July and now it looks like it will also cause the White Sox infielder to begin this season on the disabled list.
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Keppinger “has been restricted by tightness in his surgically repaired shoulder” throughout spring training and will spend Opening Day on the DL “barring a huge turnaround.”
He’s yet to play defense in a game and can’t even make throws to first base when fielding ground balls in practice because it causes pain.
Keppinger signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the White Sox last offseason following a career-year at age 32, but hit just .253 with four homers and a .600 OPS in 117 games before being shut down. Even if he gets healthy he’s likely slated for a part-time role in Chicago.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.