It appears one of the candidates to replace the injured Bryce Jordan as LSU’s designated hitter may not be able to play opening weekend.
Senior catcher Jordan Romero has not yet returned to practice after spraining an ankle last week during a base-running drill.
“We were hoping that he would be swinging a bat by yesterday, but that didn’t work out,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “Today, he was unable again. I don’t know when he’ll be available. Your guess is as good as mine.
“I’m not really counting on him much the first weekend because he hasn’t done anything for a week now.”
Mainieri said Romero rolled his ankle when he chose to run into second base upright instead of sliding into it.
The Baton Rouge native could’ve been an intriguing candidate to replicate Jordan’s production in the lineup, having hit nine home runs as a part-time player last season.
He was already battling shoulder soreness that allowed LSU-Eunice transfer Nick Coomes to leapfrog him on catching depth chart.
With Romero likely out of the lineup this weekend, Mainieri said he had been getting freshman Rankin Woley work as the emergency third-string catcher.
It may not have mattered if Romero was healthy, though. Mainieri has liked what he has seen out of Bryce Adams of late.
“I’m pretty excited about what Bryce Adams has shown in these intrasquad games and by about what he’s shown all fall and last summer,” Mainieri said. “So I think there’s a pretty good chance he’s going to get the first dibs at that (designated hitter) job on Friday night because of the Bryce Jordan injury.”
CHANGE OF PLAN
Mainieri said he wanted to “break the ice” for freshman right-hander Zack Hess this weekend, so he changed up his previously established pitching plan for the upcoming week.
Hess was originally set to start next Tuesday’s road game against the University of New Orleans. But Mainieri saw a chance to get him some work at home this weekend while still allowing him to start next week.
“I’d actually like to get Hess out there this weekend for an inning,” Mainieri said. “That means he’ll probably start Wednesday against Hofstra instead, which gives him some satisfactory rest after he pitches this weekend.”
Mainieri said sophomore Caleb Gilbert would likely get the Tuesday start against UNO. Gilbert started five games and appeared in 20 more as a freshman, going 4-4 with a 5.04 ERA.