The morning after
I wasn't at the game last night. The wife and I were coming back from dinner when Marty announced what had had happened to Jeff Keppinger. You could tell by Marty's voice what a blow it was to the team.
You've got to feel for Keppinger. He's a guy a lot of people didn't think could play every day in the big leagues, who was playing every day, playing shortstop and playing extremely well.
Where do the Reds go from here? Here's my take on the some questions that I saw in posts:
--Paul Janish is a defensive whiz. They can plug him in a short and he'll be fine defensively. But the fact that he was hitting .293 at Triple-A was a surprise. He's a guy who hit .235 with four home runs and 39 RBI in over 500 at-bats last year, splitting time between Triple-A and Double-A.
--Alex Gonzalez is a ways off from returning. He hasn't even started running yet. I'd be surprised if he's ready 30 days from now.
--Jerry Hairston Jr. is an alternative. He played short coming up. He's been sure-handed the last several years. He's athletic and brings a lot of energy.
--Chris Valaika, the shortstop at Chattanooga, is one of the best pure hitter in the Reds minor league system. Someone in the front office called him "Keppinger with more power." But he's played five games above Single-A and he's not on the 40-man. Todd Frazier is another top prospect. But he just moved to high A Sarasota.
My guess is Janish and Hairston split time until one wins the job.
Obviously, this is a huge blow. But, remember, when Gonzalez went on the bereavement list last year in July Pedro Lopez started nine straight games at short. Then one day in Atlanta, Pete Mackanin put Keppinger at short, as sort of an experiment. That worked out pretty well. The Reds need someone like Keppinger to emerge. That's a pretty tall order.