Boy, this is just brutal news, coming just as the Reds were showing real signs of playing some good baseball:

The bad news is they lost shortstop Jeff Keppinger to a fractured left kneecap.

Keppinger, who entered the game hitting a team-high .320, was hurt in the second inning after fouling a ball off his leg. An X-ray revealed a fractured left patella.

He is now on the 15-day disabled list. The Reds recalled from Class AAA Louisville infielder Paul Janish.

Reds manager Dusty Baker said the initial scan could have produced worse news, but it was still a “big blow.”

“It’s a really big loss, but you’ve got two choices: You can either feel sorry for yourself or you can figure out a way to get the job done,” Baker said.

Janish can certainly handle shortstop from a defensive perspective, but I just can’t see any way he’ll be able to handle the bat well enough to contribute much at the plate.

I’m not sure it matters. I expect Jerry Hairston to be the everday shortstop, and that could likely be a disaster. Especially since he’ll join fellow “Dusty Guy” Corey Patterson in eating up outs. Of course, while Hairston likely won’t eat up as many outs as Patterson, he will kill the Reds at shortstop defensively (at least Patterson plays a pretty good centerfield).

I’ve been trying to stay optimistic this season, and I’ve succeeded thus far. Gotta admit, though: I’m pretty discouraged today.

UPDATE: For those of you saying that it’s just fifteen days, chill out, I present this: Keppinger will be out 4-6 weeks, minimum.

And Jerry Hairston is starting at SS tonight. Hitting second, behind our awesome leadoff hitter Corey Patterson.