nichollslsu.032119 HS 846.JPG

LSU second baseman Hal Hughes (3) throws to first base to force Nicholls catcher Chris Sandberg out in the fifth inning, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at LSU's Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Sophomore Hal Hughes will miss "at least a week" because of a thumb injury, coach Paul Mainieri said on Tuesday, depleting the depth of LSU's infield.

Hughes will need to wear a splint, Mainieri said before the No. 15 Tigers played UL at Metairie in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Classic. 

Hughes hurt his thumb sliding back into second base at the end of LSU's loss to Missouri on Sunday.

When the season began, Hughes started at third base. But as his batting average dove, senior Chris Reid took over as the starting baseman. Still, Hughes provided defensive depth along the infield.

Hughes, who's batting .192 with nine RBIs, has played in 32 of LSU's games this season, splitting time between second and third base. He also started once at shortstop.

After Reid pulled his hamstring in Missouri, Hughes started at third base while Brandt Broussard played second base.

Mainieri worried on Monday about Hughes' availability against the Ragin' Cajuns. Hughes saw doctors, who have not performed an MRI on his thumb. Mainieri on Tuesday did not yet know the severity of Hughes' injury.

With Hughes out, LSU played UL with 11 healthy position players. Reid was available if needed for a pinch hit at-bat or inning in the field.

Center fielder Zach Watson, who hurt his groin at Missouri, took batting practice — and hit a home run — but Mainieri said he would not play.

Freshman Drew Bianco started at third base against UL. Broussard remained at second base. Without Watson, senior Antoine Duplantis moved to center field while Giovanni DiGiacomo played right field.

At the bottom of LSU's lineup card, Mainieri listed just three reserve players: catcher Braden Doughty, utility freshman CJ Willis and Gavin Dugas, who is also out with a thumb injury.

“I've never seen so many people get hurt in one season before,” Mainieri said on Monday.

Hughes' injury added to the already depleted nature of LSU's roster. The Tigers had 24 players available on their 35-man roster for Tuesday's game.

With so many injuries, LSU used Bianco and designated hitter Saul Garza, who both had fallen out of the lineup.

"Golden opportunity for all of them," Mainieri said. "They came to LSU to play, and they're getting opportunities. It's time for them to take advantage of it. Nobody on our team can complain they haven't gotten an opportunity, that's for sure."


Need tickets to the game? Try Ticketmaster:

Events at the PMAC | Alex Box Stadium | Tiger Stadium

Follow Wilson Alexander on Twitter, @whalexander_.