With only one week of fall practice remaining, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri is looking toward the conclusion of what has been an injury-riddled camp.
Redshirt freshman left-hander Christian Pelaez has been ruled out for the rest of the fall and decided to transfer to Miami Dade College once the fall semester ends in December.
Pelaez missed all of his freshman campaign with a shoulder injury that lingered from his high school days, and he pitched one inning earlier in camp before complaining of left shoulder pain.
The decision was made to shut down the southpaw following an MRI last week. Mainieri said the coaching staff received conflicting reports regarding Pelaez’s injury. The southpaw has a personal doctor back in his hometown of Miami whom Pelaez feels “is on top of it,” Mainieri said.
Pelaez was removed from the squad’s online roster.
“After being here for two complete years and not getting an opportunity to pitch at all by no fault of anybody’s because of injury, he just feels like his chance to resurrect his career would be best in junior college,” Mainieri said. “I couldn’t disagree with him, quite frankly.”
Zardon leading the 3B battle
Mainieri has done his share of experimenting at third base during fall camp.
Freshmen Greg Deichmann, Grayson Byrd and Bryce Jordan, sophomore Danny Zardon and senior Conner Hale have all worked innings there, but it appears an early favorite has emerged. Zardon has hit over .400 with four home runs this fall. He also leads the squad in RBIs as camp comes to a close.
“The way he’s played this fall, I’m sure he’s going to get the first opportunity (to start at third base),” Mainieri said. “There’s really not much he can’t do. When he takes batting practice, he hits the ball as hard as anybody.”
Hoover fences not a concern
The fences are moving inward at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, the 2015 home of the Alabama baseball team and the site of the annual Southeastern Conference tournament. That fact doesn’t distress Mainieri.
“The bases are still 90 feet apart, and home plate is still 60 feet, 6 inches,” Mainieri said. “The biggest concern I have is making sure the dimensions for those areas stays the same.”
Mainieri said there was one downside to the closer fences, though.
“I liked the fact that it (used to) play big because I thought it prepared you for the ballpark in Omaha,” Mainieri said. “Now that they’re moving the fences in, it’ll probably have a little different feel to it.”
Mainieri is 22-4 at the SEC tournament. His teams have won five times in their past six trips to the suburb just south of Birmingham.
Laird and Bregman nicked
On a breezy day in Alex Box Stadium on Friday afternoon, only pitchers and catchers reported for their weekly workout. The rest of the squad received a much-needed day off.
Junior shortstop Alex Bregman was hit by a pitch during Thursday evening’s scrimmage, Mainieri said. The Albuquerque, N.M., native’s elbow was swollen, though X-rays showed that the injury wasn’t serious.
Junior right fielder Mark Laird also has been dealing with a minor injury: He has been playing through a strained hamstring. Mainieri said the injury wasn’t serious, and he should continue to participate throughout the rest of fall camp.
“I thought I’d give Laird and Bregman a day off since we’re off tomorrow,” Mainieri said. “They’ll have two days off, then we’ll finish our last week and get through it and call it a fall.”