Visit from papa Tiger
LSU coach Paul Mainieri was at Zephyr Field on Friday night.
“I’d been telling Austin (Nola) I couldn’t wait to get out here and see him,” Mainieri said, “but after our season ended, I was only home for three days, then I went to help with the USA national team.
“Then I found out Anthony Renaudo was pitching (Friday), so I thought that’s the perfect time (to see both).”
Manieri’s visit was put in motion when Zephyrs manager Andy Haines went to see him in Baton Rouge early Thursday. That was facilitated by former UNO coach Ron Maestri, who is friends with Mainieri and is a mentor to Haines.
“I’d never seen the inside of LSU baseball,” Haines said. “So we went over (Thursday) and spent the day with him. He showed us the facility.
“It was a great experience for me to talk baseball with him and coaching and coaching people. Connecting with players and coaching players today is harder than it’s ever been. Kids have changed really fast.”
Nola started Thursday’s game after having missed the past three. He’d injured his right hand while diving to make a catch during a game Sunday at Oklahoma City.
“It was a ball hit in the hole (between shortstop and third), and I put my hand out to brace myself and landed on it,” he said. “I’m glad to be playing again. It’s good to get back quickly instead of slowly having to work back into it.”
Nola’s return was contingent on a batting-cage session Thursday evening. That went well, he and Haines said, and he immediately participated in batting practice on the field at 4:15.
Scraping the bottom
The Miami Marlins called up starter Kendry Flores on Friday. In two relief appearances with Miami in June, he didn’t allow a run in 3.2 innings.
His callup comes on the heels of starters Adam Conley (July 11), Andre Rienzo (July 24), Jose Urena (July 31) and Chris Narveson (Aug. 5) going up to the Marlins in the past month.
“We’ve asked a lot of our bullpen,” Haines said. “This is the most drastic I’ve seen.”
Flores was called up because Urena and Rienzo were put on the disabled list Friday. Urena was hit in the leg by a line drive Thursday night. Rienzo’s left knee was lacerated, requiring stitches, when he was spiked Tuesday while covering home plate. That has had a trickle-down effect on the organization.
And, the Zephyrs Greg Nappo was taken out of Wednesday night’s game after being hit in the arm by a line drive. However, Haines said Nappo sprained his ankle while covering first base and couldn’t push off to pitch.
Flores was to start Saturday, but right-hander Ivan Pineyro, up from Jacksonville, will start. Pineyro was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Dan Haren trade last week.