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Saturday, April 6, 2013
Gillaspie delivers a sunny day

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO – Those swirling winds inside U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday were fitting as amateur storm chaser Conor Gillaspie used his first ever White Sox start to land on the radar.

The left-handed hitting third baseman, who was acquired in a trade with the San Francisco Giants at the start of spring training, not only delivered a pair of hits in the White Sox’s 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners, but also impressed with his glove.

He tripled in the fifth inning against Felix Hernandez and scored the White Sox’s first run, then added another hit off Hernandez in the seventh inning and scored the run that ended up being the difference in the victory. All in all, it seemed much easier than tracking down tornadoes as he likes to do in his spare time.

“For Conor, he wants to be a storm chaser and it was a perfect day for him,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s pretty comfortable in those conditions and it’s one of those reasons we picked him up. He’s a tough kid and plays hard and as a compact swing that has a lot of pop with it too.”

It begs the obvious question: with starting third baseman Jeff Keppinger struggling at the outset, will Ventura give Gillaspie more playing time?

The only guarantee he seems to be getting is that he will start Sunday’s series finale at third base against the Mariners.

Gillaspie’s two hits in his lone start already give him more than Keppinger in five games. Keppinger played first base Saturday after playing the first four games at third base. With an 0-for-4 day, Keppinger is now 1-for-21 on the season and hitless in his last 19 at-bats.

“We don’t have any dilemmas,” Ventura said. “Probably (Sunday) we’ll get him in there and get him some at-bats here and there, but I think with Kepp it’s just a bad rut and it’s a small sample. We know his track record and it will change.”