LSU baseball notes: After hand surgery Cody Ducote’s now hitting off a tee _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --LSU sophomore Collin Strall (30) pitches in the seventh inning of LSU's 7-1 win over Grambling Wednesday afternoon in LSU's Alex Box Stadium.

The scar runs from the base of Cody Ducote’s pinkie finger to his right wrist. If the glass punctured one inch away, doctors told him no surgery or extra care would have been necessary.

“Another inch the other way,” he adds, “and I could have lost all feeling.”

Ducote’s started hitting baseballs off a tee for the first time since offseason surgery after cutting his hand on a piece of broken glass that was hidden under a pile of leaves.

One of three Delgado Community College signees in this recruiting class, Ducote was a 2015 JUCO All-American after hitting .446 with 68 RBI. He’s expected to be released for full participation in two weeks, he said, but until then will continue to hit off a tee every other day, increasing repetitions each session.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said there is not yet a timetable for Ducote’s return, though he “wouldn’t anticipate it being any time soon.”

Mainieri “encouraged” by Latz

Jake Latz is progressing well with his throwing program following November elbow surgery, Mainieri said, adding the prized lefty has been pain-free in his sessions.

“I watched him throw a few times in the outfield and his arm speed looks good, he’s cutting it loose,” Mainieri said. “He hasn’t been on a mound yet, of course, but thus far no setbacks … But his arm speed looked good, it was painless and the ball was coming out of his hand good. It was encouraging.”

Latz had surgery on Nov. 9 to place a screw near the bone in his throwing elbow, correcting a nagging injury that began to present as more of a stress fracture. Mainieri has said he’s holding out hope for a late April return for the 11th round selection in the 2014 MLB Draft.

No structural damage for Strall

An MRI revealed no structural damage in reliever Collin Strall’s right shoulder, producing hope that the sidearmer could get back to work in the LSU bullpen soon.

Strall, who was 3-0 with a 3.93 ERA in 22 relief appearances last season, is taking anti-inflammatory medication.

“We were concerned that he might have had some sort of structural damage, but it came back clear, no tears, no nothing,” Mainieri said. “We think it’s just tendinitis or a strain … I don’t have any idea (on a timeline for his return). We’ll just have to go by how he feels. As soon as he and the trainer tells me he’s ready to pitch, that’ll be an option.”

Follow Chandler Rome on Twitter @Chandler_Rome