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Kingspoint
06-06-2008, 11:55 PM
Per CincinnatiReds.com:

MIAMI -- After losing two shortstops before this season was even eight weeks old, the Reds could eventually have an embarrassment of riches at that position.
Both Alex Gonzalez and Jeff Keppinger are making progress from their respective leg fractures.

"I'm getting closer," said Gonzalez, who suffered a compression fracture in his left knee in February during Spring Training.

But Keppinger, who suffered a fractured left kneecap when he fouled a ball off his leg on May 13, is closest to returning. He ran the bases on Friday at the club's spring complex in Sarasota, Fla.

If Keppinger's knee responds well, he's expected to run the bases again on Saturday and could DH in an extended camp game on Sunday before starting a Minor League rehab assignment. He is on the 15-day disabled list and was originally slated to miss 4-6 weeks.

When Gonzalez went down, Keppinger stepped in and did a solid job right away on both sides of the game. He batted .324 in 39 games with three home runs and 21 RBIs, which led the club at the time.

Gonzalez, who is on the 60-day DL, has yet to appear in a game this season. Under a hot sun on a humid Friday, Gonzalez was running on the outfield grass at Dolphin Stadium. He started running for the first time last weekend and was at "80-85 percent," but had to dial it back a little.

"Hitting and fielding feels good -- the problem is the running," said Gonzalez, who played for the Marlins from 1998-2005 and still lives in Miami. "I still feel something there. I'm running 70-75 percent, but that's good."

A rehab assignment date for Gonzalez has not been determined, nor is there a target date for a return to the Reds.

"It's my decision," Gonzalez said. "I want to feel 100 percent. I don't want to jump in there and get hurt again and start over. When I'm 100 percent pain-free, I'll try to play everyday and help the team."

Without Gonzalez and Keppinger, Jerry Hairston Jr. has picked up most of the slack at shortstop. Hairston entered the night batting .315 in 36 games and has played good defense.

"Where would we be without Hairston?" Reds manager Dusty Baker asked. "Where would we be without Keppinger?"

As for how Baker will accommodate all three players, that's a wait-and-see situation.

"You always say you have to have depth," Baker said. "Something always works out, whether you want it to or not. We feel fortunate when we have enough players. The worst part is to not have enough good players."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

schmidty622
06-07-2008, 10:59 AM
I think that once Gonzalez gets back he could be serious trade bait for a contender like the Dodgers.

I can't wait for Kepp to come back though. When he's in the lineup this team is at it's best.

bgwilly31
06-07-2008, 11:20 AM
I dont think they will trade gonzo immediately.

He'll more than likely start when he gets back. At least for a few weeks until trade rumors start coming up.

Not that i agree with that. But since the REDS tend to do everything opposite of what is right to do thats what im predicting. :)

Big Hurt
06-07-2008, 11:24 AM
I have to say I'm in the Hairston camp. His defense is shakey but I love his speed and baseball I.Q. This Reds team might be the slowest in the league. If I'm Dusty , I think long and hard about who gets to play SS when all three are back. Clearly, Gonzo is the best defensively. With our poor defense, maybe Gonzo should get a chance and use Hairston and Kepp off the bench. My ranking:

Hairston - good leadoff hitter, good baseball I.Q, and base advancing speed;
Gonzo - best of the group in defense, which this team sorely needs; and
Kepp - great bat but average on defense and slowest speed of the three

Ghosts of 1990
06-07-2008, 11:34 AM
Not interested in Gonzo. Keppinger can be welcomed back

Big Hurt
06-07-2008, 11:44 AM
Has he been gone so long that you no longer remember his fielding range?

Kingspoint
06-07-2008, 08:01 PM
I have to say I'm in the Hairston camp. His defense is shakey but I love his speed and baseball I.Q. This Reds team might be the slowest in the league. If I'm Dusty , I think long and hard about who gets to play SS when all three are back. Clearly, Gonzo is the best defensively. With our poor defense, maybe Gonzo should get a chance and use Hairston and Kepp off the bench. My ranking:

Hairston - good leadoff hitter, good baseball I.Q, and base advancing speed;
Gonzo - best of the group in defense, which this team sorely needs; and
Kepp - great bat but average on defense and slowest speed of the three


Hairston can be used everytime Baker has an itch to play Patterson. Dump Patterson and let Hairston be the backup CF when Bruce is over in RF for Junior.

hebroncougar
06-07-2008, 08:16 PM
I really wonder if Gonzo lost any range with the knee injury.