Robin Ventura keeping faith in struggling Keppinger
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org April 6, 2013 8:46PM
Chicago White Sox Conor Gillaspie hits a triple during the fifth inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill., on Saturday, April 6, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
The facts: 1:10 p.m., Ch. 9, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The pitchers: Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0, 1.50) vs. Chris Sale (1-0, 0.00).
Updated: May 8, 2013 7:07AM
Jeff Keppinger moved from third base to first base Saturday as manager Robin Ventura shuffled the lineup for a day game after a night game.
But Keppinger had another tough day at the plate, going 0-for-4 to extend his slump to 0-for-19. He was charged with an error in the second inning when he couldn’t handle Dustin Ackley’s ground ball. It led to an unearned run off Sox starter Dylan Axelrod.
But Ventura said he has no worries about Keppinger.
‘‘We don’t have any dilemmas,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘I think with Kepp, it’s just a small sample. You know his track record, and it will change.’’
Is this Kansas?
Players said the windy conditions Saturday were some of the worst they experienced.
‘‘I had to step off [the mound] a few times,’’ Axelrod said. ‘‘I didn’t want to lose my balance out there.’’
Ventura said he couldn’t tell if balls were staying in the park or going out.
‘‘Any ball that went up, it could have gone anywhere. Normally you can tell. Today was one of those days you couldn’t tell.
‘‘You see balls go up and think they’re fair or foul and they either come back or go in the stands. It’s about as close as you can get to [old] Candlestick Park [in San Francisco].’’
Adam Dunn stole 19 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in 2002.
‘‘That’s not the player I have,’’ Ventura joked of his power-hitting designated hitter.
But Dunn stole his first base this season in the fourth inning Friday, giving him half his total of last season.
‘‘You get to a point where if they aren’t going to pay attention, [you] can take advantage of it,’’ Ventura said of the uncontested theft. ‘‘I didn’t give him the steal sign. There are times to take advantage of [situations].’’
Four decades of DH
Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of the designated hitter in the American League. The White Sox boasted one of the most prolific DHs in Harold Baines, who will be ‘‘in uniform’’ again Sunday, when the team wears replica 1983 uniforms as part of a seasonlong tribute to the ‘‘Winning Ugly’’ team that won the AL West but lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs.
‘‘Harold will be the one most comfortable,’’ Ventura said.