Kepler drew a walk in his lone plate appearance and made an impressive running catch in right in the ninth inning to rob Kendrys Morales of extra bases, but it went as a game-tying sacrifice fly.
"It's unfortunate what happened to Danny and I feel sorry for him, but I'm glad I got the call," Kepler said. "I'm going to do my best to do what I can up here. It caught me a little off-guard yesterday because it's the beginning of the season."
Kepler, 23, is expected to see action at all three outfield spots, but manager Paul Molitor said he doesn't expect Kepler to get regular playing time over starting outfielders Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Sano.
"We're going to try to get an opportunity to get a little bit of playing time for him, but in reality, he'll potentially be a defensive replacement," Molitor said. "He's a good baserunner. Just trying to find the right time to give him an opportunity to contribute. But there's no question I'll be using him late in games for defensive situations."
Kepler is coming off a breakout season that saw him win Southern League MVP honors after hitting .322/.416/.531 with nine homers, 32 doubles, 13 triples and 18 stolen bases with Double-A Chattanooga. He was one of the final cuts in Spring Training, and was sent to Rochester where he went 1-for-6 with two RBIs in his first two career games at Triple-A.
The Berlin, Germany native, who signed for a then European-record $800,000 bonus in 2009, is up in the Majors for a second time. He was a September callup last year, playing in three games, and going 1-for-7 at the plate.
"Max didn't get a lot of playing time last September," Molitor said. "He had a nice spring when we had him in camp. He's a guy that some people this winter thought we could go to if Byron's situation didn't work out. He was here last year and he was obviously closer to being a Major League player, and now with Santana's injury he's up here."
Molitor said he didn't have a number in mind of how many games Kepler will play a week, but Kepler said he's open to any role.
"It's an honor," Kepler said. "It makes me feel very confident about myself. I'm going to do what I can to help this team get wins."