AL Notes: Keppinger, Zobrist, Singleton, De Vries

Earlier today, the White Sox made the tough decision to designate infielder Jeff Keppinger for assignment, despite the fact that his contract calls for a $4MM salary in 2014 and a $4.5MM salary in 2015. GM Rick Hahn spoke to reporters about the move (Twitter links to MLB.com’s Scott Merkin) about the decision: We are focusing on the future as opposed to trying to justify a decision from the past. … [Keppinger’s signing] didn’t work. That’s on me.”

Here’s more from the American League:

  • Versatile Rays infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist suffered a dislocated left thumb in today’s action, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (links to Twitter). A brief trip to the DL seems likely, though the injury does not appear to be a long-term concern. Through 177 plate appearances, Zobrist owned an effective (but low for his standards) .258/.352/.364 line with three home runs and three stolen bases. Discussing the struggling Tampa club in a piece for Grantland earlier today, Jonah Keri wrote that Zobrist, who is earning just $7MM this year, could potentially become a trade piece if the Rays cannot turn things around. His contract, long one of the most team-friendly in the game, includes a club option for next season at $7.5MM (with a $500K buyout).
  • The Astros are still deliberating on when to call up first baseman Jon Singleton, per a report from Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter links). “We have seen the reaction the fans have to bringing up a prospect like [George Springer],” said Luhnow. “I would say Singleton is on deck.” While Singleton, 22, has mashed at Triple-A this year (.293/.401/.629 with 12 home runs in 167 plate appearances), Luhnow did not commit to a timeline. “I think he will play up here this year,” he said. “When, that remains to be seen.” Singleton entered the year as a consensus top-100 prospect. (MLB.com placed him 44th; ESPN.com’s Keith law ranked him 78th; and Baseball America put him at 82nd.)
  • Former Twins pitcher Cole De Vries has officially retired, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN via Twitter. The 29-year-old righty threw to a 4.11 ERA in 87 2/3 innings (most of them as a starter) back in 2012, with 6.0 K/9 against just 1.8 BB/9. He was less successful last year, however, giving up 18 earned runs in just 15 frames. De Vries became a minor league free agent after the year, but said that he is trying his hand at commercial real estate rather than looking for another crack at the bigs.


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