Talking to Keppinger
I ventured over to the Astros clubhouse to see former Red Jeff Keppinger and was fortunate to find him within about five minutes. For the second night in a row, Keppinger wasn’t in the lineup because of a sore back caused by a slide into third base for a triple.
I’ve noticed a lot of Reds fans were upset (and still are upset) about the Reds trading Keppinger on March 31. Personally, I think it was a good move by Cincinnati, especially since it looks like they got a better than I expected return in IF Drew Sutton. Keppinger had a nice second half of 2007 and a great start to 2008, but I think fans placed too much value on him. He wasn’t the same offensively after fracturing his kneecap last May. Defensively, he lacked the range at shortstop compared to the guy who beat him out for the backup job — Paul Janish.
Of course, Keppinger is off to a hot start with a six-game hitting streak and is batting .467. I’m sure he will do well for Houston in his platoon role at third base. Here are some extended quotes from the clubhouse:
When did he turn it around since Reds camp?
“Season time. Spring Training is Spring Training. It was a time to get ready. You can’t really go too much on that. Once the lights come on, it’s when it counts. That’s when you have to have everything figured out.”
Did he feel that the Reds gave up on him because of Spring Training? (He hit .140 in 21 games)
“I don’t want to say gave up on me. I think they thought Gonzo [Alex Gonzalez] would be back and in there most of the time. There weren’t much plans for me of getting in there as far as playing time. I had that same situation when I was with the Royals. They were going to put me on waivers. The GM told me I don’t think you’re going to clear. So the next thing I knew I got traded three days later.”
Life good with Houston?
“It’s nice. We’ve got a lot of veterans in the clubhouse. It’s kind of a more laid back atmosphere. You just go out there and do your business and play your game.”