Jeff Keppinger joins White Sox
The White Sox announced Monday morning that they have officially agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the versatile infielder, who is expected to pick up a bulk of the starts at third base in the upcoming season.
Reports of the deal surfaced at last week's baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., but the White Sox had no comment on the subject until it became official. A regular physical exam by team doctors had not been completed, thus delaying the announcement of the signing.
Keppinger reportedly injured the leg in a fall at his home last month. The break, in his lower leg, is not considered serious. It is unknown if Keppinger will be able to go full-speed from the first day that position players are expected to report for spring training in February in Arizona, but the longer spring training, as a result of the World Baseball Classic, should help.
Keppinger is expected to be 100 percent by Opening Day.
The right-handed hitter has a career .288 batting average in eight seasons with six teams. He played for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012, batting a career-best .325. He led the American League with a .376 batting average against left-handers.
Known for his ability to make contact, Keppinger has averaged one strikeout per 15.64 plate appearance, second-best in the American League among active players with a minimum 750 plate appearances. He is also one of three active major leaguers, along with Dustin Pedroia and Albert Pujols, to have more extra-base hits and walks than strikeouts.
The deal calls for Keppinger to earn $3.5 million in 2013, $4.0 million in 2014 and $4.5 million in 2015, according to the team.
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