Reinforcements for the LSU pitching staff aren’t as close as they once appeared.
Freshman right-hander AJ Labas won’t be making his season debut next week, LSU coach Paul Mainieri said Friday night. Mainieri and pitching coach Alan Dunn agreed Labas needed “more time” after he threw a simulated game earlier in the day.
“I was a little disappointed,” Mainieri said. “He just doesn’t look ready right now. He’s going to need some more work.”
It wasn’t an injury setback or anything like that, but the coaches felt it was apparent that he needed more work in practice before making his LSU debut in a real game.
Labas, one of LSU’s highest-regarded pitching signees, underwent back surgery during the winter after impressing in the fall. Mainieri said earlier this week that Labas could debut against Grambling on Tuesday night, but those plans have now been put on hold.
“His velocity wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be, and neither was his command, to be honest with you,” Mainieri said. “Alan has been saying he needs more time and I’ve been arguing with him. Alan was right. He needs more time, so we’re just going to have to wait.”
The coach didn’t offer a new timeline for Labas and hasn’t specified when fellow freshman Nick Storz (shoulder) could make his debut. It seems for now LSU is content to be patient and take a wait-and-see approach.