0

Parkview's Keppinger signs with White Sox

Houston Astros' Jeff Keppinger rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Justin Lehr in the third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Houston Astros' Jeff Keppinger rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Justin Lehr in the third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Jeff Keppinger may have a broken leg, but that won't spoil his holiday season.

For the first time in his major league career, the Parkview graduate has a long-term contract.

Keppinger, 32, agreed to a three-year deal as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox that will pay him $12 million.

The versatile veteran hit .325 with nine homers for Tampa Bay last season and is a .288 career hitter with a .337 on-base percentage. He has played all around the infield and is in line to become the starter at third base for the White Sox.

Keppinger played 51 games at third for the Rays last season while filling in for the injured Evan Longoria. He had a .806 on-base and slugging mark in 418 plate appearances and is one of the toughest batters to strike out in the majors.

The right-handed hitter received interest from multiple teams, including the New York Yankees, despite suffering a break in his right fibula this fall tripping down some stairs at his house.

The break, described as small, was repaired surgically and he should be fully healed well before the start of spring training. Agent Keith Grunewald made Keppinger's medical records available to all interested teams.

In his one season with the Rays, Keppinger made $1.525 million. He previously played with the Mets, Royals, Reds, Astros and Giants.

Keppinger isn't the only Parkview graduate going to a new team. Right-handed reliever Anthony Carter signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox after not being tendered a contract by the White Sox. Carter, 26, spent seven years in the Chicago organization and pitched with Class AAA Charlotte in 2012.