From John Fay’s blog:

For those that dreamed of Keppinger getting a shot at the SS job…forget it.

I asked Dusty Baker about the great Jeff Keppinger/Alex Gonzalez debate. He stopped short of the calling Gonzalez his shortstop but said:

“Well, you don’t get any better defensively than Gonzalez. Keppinger’s a good player. Gonzalez has more range. Gonzalez is one of the top shortstops in baseball to me. Keppinger did a fine job. You like have a guy like Keppinger on your team. Keppinger’s working out at first base, third base, shortstop, second base.

“I know he can hit, and he knows he can hit.”

Baker said he doesn’t have a number of at-bats in mind for Keppinger.

“Not really,” Baker said. “It works itself out. You’ve got help stay ready. It’s up to me play everybody enough to keep them ready. So they’re ready when they have to play everyday.’

I never did think it was a realistic idea. The Reds are paying him too much $$ to not start. Keppinger’s just been “typecast” as a utility/part time guy.

When Baker was asked who would hit leadoff when Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper aren’t playing, he said: “I hope one or the other is in the game.”

That would appear not to bode well for the Jay Bruce’s chance. But it should be noted that not one game has been played. Josh Hamilton went from an after thought an everyday player with a great spring.

Sure doesn’t bode well. Seems to mean that Bruce will need to have a BIG SPRING to make the team. I hope he does, but every day and with seemingly every comment, he seems more likely to start the year in Louisville. Hope I’m wrong.