Chris Reid played no organized baseball this fall. He spent his winter coaching the game instead of working at it. He hadn’t so much as taken batting practice before rejoining the program some two weeks before Opening Day.
That lack of preseason preparation has not produced any discernable downturn in the senior’s productivity to begin the season.
Reid is hitting .357 (5-for-14) and has driven in five runs in seven appearances so far this season. He’s also played a clean third base, whether that means coming off the bench or making a rare start.
“Chris is an amazing kid,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. “He can miss all summer and fall, not do anything over the winter to prepare himself, have two weeks of preseason, and he steps in there and make the plays and puts the barrel on the ball. He’s always been that way, and I think he’s better now than he’s ever been because he’s quicker and his knowledge of the game is better.”
LSU’s “Professional Hitter” turned out to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark weekend at Texas. He came off the bench to produce two of LSU’s six hits in an 8-4 loss on Saturday, which earned him his first start of the year on Sunday. He got on base two more times and scored a run.
Could Reid be in line for a larger role as LSU begins its final week of non-conference play?
Mainieri wasn’t ready to say until he had a chance to meet with his staff and the players involved on Tuesday, but he didn’t rule it out either.
“This is an earn-it business,” Mainieri said. “The kids that earn it will get an opportunity to play, and my only motive is to give us a chance to win … I just don’t know yet what we’re going to do going forward.”
Sophomore Hal Hughes started the first 10 games of the season at third base. Known for being a slick fielder, Hughes is hitting .243 (9-for-37) with five RBI this season. He’s committed one error.
– Right-handed pitcher Jaden Hill (arm soreness) is feeling better every day, Mainieri said, but he has not resumed throwing yet. The coach deemed it highly unlikely he’d be able to pitch this coming weekend.
– Infielder Gavin Dugas underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair a torn muscle in his thumb. He’s expected to miss eight weeks.
– Saul Garza will ramp up his defensive activities this week, as previously scheduled, Mainieri said. The catcher will be officially cleared to get into a crouch on Wednesday, though he’s been doing increased stretching on his own of late. It will be a few weeks before Garza could catch in a game, Mainieri said.
LSU IN THE POLLS
LSU dropped precipitously in all four of the major polls after a 1-3 week in which the Tigers got swept by Texas. LSU is no longer No. 1 in any of the polls and dropped out of the top-10 altogether in three of them.
Here’s an accounting of where LSU stands at 8-3. As always, last week’s rankings are in parenthesis.
D1Baseball 13 (2)
Baseball America 10 (2)
Perfect Game 14 (1)
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper 9 (1)