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Kaz Matsui may be out of a job in Houston

Apr 19, 2010, 9:10 AM EDT

Astros manager Brad Mills is being non-committal about whether Jeff Keppinger has taken the second base job from Kaz Matsui, but it certainly seems like Matsui is now the backup.

Mills was asked if Matsui is now the utility guy: “I
don’t want to label it that way yet. We’re still just a dozen games into
the season. Let’s wait and see how everything plays out. I’m congnizant
to get (Matsui) out there and get him on a roll. It’s tough, but it’s
tough to not get the other guy (Keppinger) out there.”

 The “other guy” is hitting .371/.450/.486.  He and Michael Bourn are the only two Astros even pretending to hit, so it makes sense that Keppinger continues to get playing time.

Still, the more playing time Keppinger gets, the more he’ll start to look like what Kaz Matsui will give the Astros with more playing time himself. Ask the Reds who, after Keppinger had a fairly spectacular 267 at bats in 2007, tried to make him into a full time player the following year. The results: .266/.310/.346. Some of that was no doubt due to a knee injury he got in May of that year, but a lot of it was simply a function of him being exposed as something less than a full time player.

Keppinger more or less kills lefties, but if you give the guy 500 plate appearances, he’s not going to do much more for you than Matsui is going to do. In light of that it makes sense for Mills not to make some big announcement regarding who the starting second baseman is, play the hot hand and enjoy Keppinger’s production while it lasts.

  1. Curious George - Apr 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Fun Facts:

    The team’s slash line is 215/240/285, OPS+ 39. Mario Mendoza’s career line: 215/245/262, OPS+ 41.

    After 12 games, only two Astros have drawn more than one walk. The team has drawn 12 in total. With 5, Keppinger has almost half.

    The pre-season debate over biggest albatross focused almost specifically on Soriano, Zito and Wells. Carlos 104/122/104 Lee has requested a guest pass for the Albatross Club with the potential for full membership in the near future.

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