LSU pitcher Alden Cartwright, who sustained a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament last spring and needed Tommy John surgery, has ended his playing career, he announced on Twitter Monday afternoon.
I have decided to end my baseball career and start a new chapter in life. I have more to say than twitter allows, so I attached a note... pic.twitter.com/HraQyMKAgM— Alden Cartwright (@ACartwright32) March 13, 2017
Cartwright, a senior from Baton Rouge, suffered the elbow injury during a relief outing against Auburn last April. As he was rehabilitating from the Tommy John surgery, the right-hander began experiencing shoulder problems.
He underwent rotator cuff surgery this fall, but he estimated that he was dealing with both elbow and shoulder problems well before either surgery, often just pushing through the pain. Cartwright approached LSU coach Paul Mainieri with the news Monday, but his retirement was something he had been considering for about 12 weeks.
"My heart started to be out of it, and it would almost do a disservice to the team because I’ve always been a team guy – anything I can do for the team to help," Cartwright told The Advocate. "I just wasn’t at that level anymore, and I can look at myself in the mirror and say I was OK with ending my career."
Any chance Cartwright would pitch in 2017 was already uncertain prior to the shoulder surgery, but Mainieri began to doubt if he would be able pitch next season either.
"I just think Alden is one of those pitchers that got the most out of his ability," Mainieri said. "He was really versatile and quality pitcher for us, but it didn’t come easy for him. It was a lot hard work, and he had to maximize his ability to be an effective pitcher for us. Now having to rehabilitate two different surgeries on his arm at the same time and hope to come and regain the form that he once had was going to be really, really difficult.
"I’m grateful to have had Alden in the program," Mainieri continued. "I think that he’s a terrific young man that loves the LSU baseball program so much. His enthusiasm was very contagious among our team, and I’ll miss having him around."
Prior to his elbow injury at Auburn, when he was "probably pitching the best I had in my career," the Runnels High product held a 2.32 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings on the mound. For his career, primarily as a reliever, Cartwright registered a 4-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 69.0 innings.
"When we lost him last year, I thought it had an adverse effect on our team," Mainieri said. "We lost a quality pitcher out of the bullpen. I was sorry for him, but I was also sorry for our team.”
After his graduation in May, Cartwright said he will start full time at Horizon Wealth Management, where he has been interning under former LSU player Pete Bush.
“I can’t thank the fans and the university enough because my dream wasn’t to be great at LSU," Cartwright said. "My dream was just to play — not even play, make the team. I was just happy to make the team as a freshman, and it was just an honor to play at a great university. I’m forever in debt to LSU, and I could just not be happier that that was my home.”
Tigers fall in one poll
There's a new No. 1 in the four major Division I baseball polls, but LSU stayed put in three of the four rankings after a 3-1 week.
The Tigers remained at No. 6 in the new polls released by Baseball America and Perfect Game, and at No. 7 in the new ranking compiled by D1 Baseball. LSU fell one spot to No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's latest top 25.
With TCU dropping a series at UC Irvine, three different teams now claim the top spot. Louisville is the new No. 1 in Baseball America and Perfect Game's polls, while Florida State is the top-ranked team according to D1 Baseball. Collegiate Baseball ranked Oregon State as its new No. 1.
Louisiana-Lafayette moved up one spot to No. 14 in Baseball America's ranking but remained at No. 9 in Perfect Game's poll and at No. 15 D1 Baseball's top 25. The Cajuns (9-4) swept St. Peter's at home over the weekend.
Poché receives national honor again
For the third time this season, LSU pitcher Jared Poché was among the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's National Players of the Week after extending his scoreless inning streak to 29 frames on Saturday against Wichita State.
The senior lefty from Lutcher went seven innings in the 12-5 win against the Shockers, allowing four hits and striking out three. On the season, he's allowed only eight hits and has walked just two.
Poché's streak in second in school history, trailing Ben McDonald's mark of 44 straight scoreless innings in 1989.
Freeman garners SEC honor
Sharing the distinction with Missouri infielder/designated hitter Robbie Glendinning, Freeman was named the Southeastern Conference co-Player of the Week, the conference announced Monday.
Including two doubles, the Tigers second baseman went 8-for-16 at the plate with two RBIs and seven runs scored between a midweek loss to McNeese State and three-game sweep of Wichita State. The senior from Mandeville is now hitting an SEC-leading .482 for the season and has at least one hit in his last 10 games.
Luke Johnson contributed to this report.