Just when I thought we were done with "Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone are seriously gonna be way better this year we promise" stories, the Chicago Sun-Times came through with another rehashing on Tuesday. There's nothing new about it, and I'm guessing they're just answering questions asked of them. However, there's an effect where the more times you hear or read them say it, the more you think they're trying to convince themselves.
I'm getting to the same place with stories about Jeff Keppinger's shoulder. The timeline of his throwing woes took an interesting turn on Wednesday, but allow me to build the drama if you're unfamiliar:
Feb. 24: Scott Merkin says that Keppinger is building up arm strength, which was diminished because he couldn't push off his back leg while recovering from his broken right fibula during the offseason. He makes his spring debut as a designated hitter.
Feb. 25: Keppinger starts at DH.
Feb. 26: Robin Ventura looks uncomfortable talking about Keppinger's shoulder.
Feb. 27: Keppinger enters as a pinch runner for Adam Dunn, and replaces him at DH.
Feb. 28: Keppinger starts at DH.
March 2: Keppinger makes his first start at third. He is taken out at the top of the fifth as the first stringers are rotated out.
March 4: Keppinger starts at third, goes 3-for-3, and is replaced with a pinch runner in the bottom of the fifth, leading to a bulk substitution before the sixth.
March 5: Keppinger starts at third against Team USA, gets three plate appearances.
March 7: Keppinger starts at third, and is replaced after a double in the sixth inning amid a change to the second string.
March 9: Keppinger starts at third, and is pinch-run for after his third PA in the fifth inning. He commits an error.
March 10: Keppinger is scratched from the starting lineup due to "slight right shoulder irritation."
March 11: Bruce Levine writes that Keppinger will be back in the lineup by the end of the week.
But there's a catch about the guy who can't throw...
March 13: Ventura says Keppinger might start at second whenever he comes back to the lineup:
"We actually might start (Keppinger) at second," Ventura said after the Sox lost to the Indians 5-2. "I think throwing would be easier on him, just to get him in there and move him around. But he's still a couple of days away. We're being cautious with him, but nothing right now to jeopardize the start of the season."
Well, that doesn't sound normal at all! Even though Ventura delivered the message more assuredly.
It seemed like John Danks would be the one who would benefit from the longest spring training ever, but somehow he sounds far more confident about his shoulder problem, even though his required surgery.
If you're looking for silver lining, I can't find any evidence that the Sox ever said Keppinger was in the clear with his shoulder. They're taking it seriously, so whenever the Sox say the problem is behind him, it should mean something. You know, should they have the occasion to say it before the season starts.
Given the gruesome history of White Sox third basemen, that's never a safe assumption. Right now, the position is undercutting players before they even actually play there.
March 14: Now there's this ....
#whitesox at Angels today 3:05. Wise RF, Keppinger 2B, Dunn 1B, Viciedo LF, Gillaspie 3B, Ramirez SS, Bell DH, Flowers C, Tekotte CF.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) March 14, 2013
No Keppinger, after all. Beckham playing second base instead.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) March 14, 2013
Personal matter, according to White Sox, keeping Keppinger out. Not his shoulder.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) March 14, 2013