LSU left-hander Jake Latz had successful surgery on his throwing elbow Monday, and doctors said he could throw in as little as three months, LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Wednesday.
Mainieri is still approaching Latz’s situation with caution but stressed that if Latz is healthy and his rehab goes well, he could be an option for the Tigers late this season.
“It’s actually going to strengthen his elbow, the makeup of the bone and how it will come together,” Mainieri said. “They believe he could be potentially throwing a baseball in three months and perhaps being on the mound fully, pitching ability, sometime in April. I’m not counting on him, but it could be lagniappe for our team.”
The third-highest drafted high school player not to sign a pro contract in the 2014 MLB draft, Latz missed all of last season with the stress reaction in his left elbow and suffered a setback with the injury near the end of this fall. He sought three opinions from orthopedic surgeons, and all advised him to have the surgery, which involved inserting a screw in his elbow.
“He’s going to work on the rehab pace he should be working on, but if he’s fully healthy with the season still going on, we’ll evaluate if he can help our team,” Mainieri said. “He’s going to rehab at the pace he’s supposed to go at, what’s best for his health. When he??s fully healthy and fully ready to pitch, we’ll see where we are in the season and if it’s possible that he gives us an option, we’ll look at that.”
Whitty, May, Laird no longer with program
Third-year right-hander Troy Whitty was among three players who will not return to the program in the spring, Mainieri said Wednesday.
Whitty, a Massachusetts native who redshirted as a true freshman after undergoing knee surgery, also missed the entire 2015 season with shoulder surgery. He was ineffective in some fall outings, Mainieri said, and never had enough mound time to develop adequately.
“He was a project to start with — a big-body kid with a good arm — so we were going to see how he developed, but the injuries just kept setting him back,” Mainieri said. “Now he can go to a junior college where he can get a chance to pitch because he wasn’t going to pitch for us. This will be the best thing for him, and if he continues to evolve, then you never know what will happen for the future.”
Mainieri wasn’t sure where Whitty will transfer but mentioned Baton Rouge Community College and Delgado as possible destinations.
Right-hander Ryan May and infielder Bryce Laird will also not return. May, a Dunham graduate, had two appearances last season totaling one inning with one hit allowed. Mainieri was unsure of May’s plans. Laird is a Covington native whom the Tigers picked up midway through fall to fill out scrimmage teams when Bryce Jordan went down with a knee injury.
“Nice kid, played hard and did a nice job,” Mainieri said. “We might even keep him around now as a student manager, he’s such a great kid. We’re not sure yet how that’s going to work.”
The LSU roster now sits at 35 players, the maximum allowed by the NCAA.