Tigers’ Rhymes has productive offensive week


* Advocate sportswriter

* Published: Apr 18, 2011

LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Monday that right fielder Mason Katz fractured his right hand when Katz dove to make a catch in the seventh inning against Auburn on Sunday.

Katz, who is hitting .277 with 31 RBIs and has started all 37 games this season, will be out at least three weeks.

Mainieri said during his radio show Monday that Raph Rhymes, Jimmy Dykstra or Spencer Ware could fill in.

No slump here

While the rest of his teammates plodded through a tough offensive week, Rhymes heated up.

Rhymes went 8-for-16 last week, including going 6-for-12 against Auburn, and hit three doubles in five games. He also drove in four runs.

Mainieri said Rhymes is likely to remain on the field on defense instead of manning the designated hitter spot as he has most of this season, in part because none of the other options he’s tried there have stuck and in part because Rhymes will likely need to man one of the outfield spots next season.

Hitting in the three-hole could also be permanent after Rhymes showed the knack for driving in runs, although it’s conceivable he and Mikie Mahtook could flip-flop to put more consistent protection behind Mahtook.

Rhymes’ week increased his season average to .366, and he increased his team-best total in multi-hit games to 18. He leads LSU with 11 doubles.