Keppinger is in the midst of a 1-for-21 start at the plate and the hit came in his second at-bat of the season. Gillaspie, meanwhile, had two hits Saturday against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez and scored a pair of runs.
Manager Robin Ventura hasn’t lost faith that Keppinger can get the job done, but with Gillaspie’s play on Saturday and the chance to give Keppinger a mental break Sunday, as well as another on Monday’s day off, he took it.
“You want to get off to a good start, and I think you look at his track record,” Ventura said of Keppinger, who is known as a contact hitter. “You kind of go from that, the way he’s swinging the bat. It’s not easy to hit right now. As a player, you come in, it’s cold most of the time. Or it’s like (Saturday) where the wind was blowing. It’s different, so maybe going out on the road will be a good change and will help on the psyche.”
A 1-for-21 spell is never good to have at any time of the season, but it certainly gets more attention at the beginning of the year.
“They are never good or fun to go through, but I think if it happens early and you get out of it, it goes away,” Ventura said. “When it happens in the middle, you kind of have something to base it on. You were swinging it good before. They are never fun. They are never good to go through, but again his track with the way he swings the bat, you just wait for it to turn.”