Jeff Keppinger has been rehabbing a shoulder injury since last season and today the White Sox decided to simply drop him from the 40-man roster, designating the veteran infielder for assignment.
Keppinger is under contract for $4 million this season and $4.5 million in 2015 as part of an odd three-year deal handed out by then-general manager Ken Williams in December of 2012. He hit .253 with four homers and a .600 OPS in 117 games in Year 1 of the contract and now the White Sox are willing to eat the rest of the deal.
Even if he’s healthy Keppinger is best suited to be a bench player at age 34 and he was hitting just .256 with a .707 OPS in 11 games rehabbing at Double-A. No team is going to claim his contract off waivers, so once he’s released by the White Sox expect Keppinger to latch on elsewhere with a minor-league contract.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.