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Jeff Keppinger placed on restricted list

Tampa Bay Rays' Jeff Keppinger grounds to Los

Tampa Bay Rays' Jeff Keppinger grounds to Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick Aybar during the sixth inning. (April 25, 2012) Credit: AP

Tampa Bay placed infielder Jeff Keppinger on the restricted list Tuesday night due to a personal matter, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Keppinger is only expected to be away from the team for a day or two. But if that absence is indeed two days, it should be good news for CC Sabathia.

Sabathia is scheduled to pitch on Thursday, and Keppinger has long been a lefty-killer. While he owns a .282 overall batting average, Keppinger has a career .330 average against left handers. He has a .374 on-base percentage and .489 slugging percentage against southpaws, striking out just 23 times and working 44 walks in 684 plate appearances.

Keppinger would also come into the game hot. He has five hits in his last nine at-bats, and 10 hits in his last 15 at-bats.

He was 2-for-3 against Sabathia during the Yankees' season opening loss, and played a key role in the first inning:

First inning: Keppinger grounds out, but advances two base runners. This leaves first base open. Sabathia intentionally walks Sean Rodriguez and Carlos Pena follows with a grand slam.

Third inning: Keppinger singles off Sabathia with one out following Evan Longoria's home run.

Fifth inning: Keppinger singles off Sabathia to advance Longoria to third.


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