Uncertain status has allowed Brent Morel and Conor Gillaspie to get reps at third base
The ankle he injured during the offseason is fine. But his shoulder injury is preventing him from playing defense, which has allowed Brent Morel and Conor Gillaspie to receive the bulk of the playing time. There's no firm timetable on Keppinger's return, and Robin Ventura looks quite uncomfortable talking about it:
One of Ventura's biggest weaknesses last season was dealing with questions he didn't want to answer, so maybe this presents a "getting work in" opportunity for him as well.
Both players are doing what they can to provide the illusion of depth at third. Gillaspie had a terrific day during the Sox's 14-8 victory over Texas on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with a triple and four RBI. Morel went 0-for-2, but he made a nice diving stab and throw that witnesses suggest he couldn't have pulled off last year.
Both of those are good signs, but it's hard to feel optimistic about a plan where Morel is Option A2. I hadn't written him off this season, because Keppinger's injury history suggests that Morel would have to take over the position for a few weeks. But I'd hoped that Keppinger would at least get the chance to provide some stability to the position early before having to turn to Morel for those few weeks. Perhaps that will still be the case, but it would help if Ventura could provide a little more clarity.
Elsewhere on the injury front