Tough luck for Jeff Keppinger. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the free agent infielder recently required surgery after suffering a break in his right fibula tripping down some stairs at his house.
Keppinger is expected to be ready for spring training and his agent has been upfront about the injury with interested teams. While he should still do pretty well given the lack of quality options in free agency, he might not get the payday he initially expected going into the offseason. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported over the weekend that the Yankees have expressed interest in him for a super-sub role.
Keppinger, who turns 33 in April, batted .325/.367/.439 with nine home runs, 40 RBI and an .806 OPS in 115 games with the Rays this past season. Versatility is one of his selling points, as he started 41 games at third base, 23 at second base and 21 at first base.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.