Mainieri rules Rumbelow out vs. Maryland
Coach to make opening-night starter decision early next week
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri has ruled out pitcher Nick Rumbelow for the opening series of the season.
The junior hurt an oblique muscle in the bullpen session before his first inning of work this spring on Sunday. Mainieri said he and pitching coach Alan Dunn noticed him grimace following his first pitch on the mound and immediately removed him.
“Those things can be a real nuisance if you don’t take care of them,” Mainieri said. “You got to kind of pay the bill now. Otherwise it’ll be an aggravation all year. I would probably rule him out for the first weekend of the season. It hopefully won’t be long after that.”
Mainieri wouldn’t say how his injury affects the closer/Sunday starter race.
“Obviously it changes a little bit in just that he’s out of the mix, but there’s some other guys that we’re looking at,” he said. “We’re still a few days away from deciding what we want to do there.”
My best guess is that Chris Cotton wins the closer job in a landslide, and whoever has a better spring between Brent Bonvillain and Kurt McCune will be your third starter versus Maryland Feb. 17.
As for the starting pitchers in the first two contests versus the Terps, Mainieri has not yet decided who will pitch which night between Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades. The coach said he should make this announcement early next week.
The other big race for playing time comes in the outfield where jobs are for the taking in center and right. Freshmen Mark Laird and Andrew Stevenson, junior college transfer Sean McMullen and sophomore Chris Sciambra are vying for those two spots.
“I don’t think I’ll make any big announcement ever about that, because I think what we have is four guys that are going to constantly be fighting for playing time there,” said the skipper. “Guys that start on opening night aren’t necessarily going to be in the lineup the next day. Those are guys that I think are all going to play and I think I’m going to give them playing time at the right time and keep them sharp and keep them all ready to go.”
First pitch is two weeks from today at the Box.