By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Catcher Mason Doolittle’s LSU career is over before he played so much as an official inning.
The freshman has left the program, LSU coach Paul Mainieri confirmed in a text message Monday morning. He’s the third Tiger to leave the program this winter, joining infielders Rankin Woley and Mason Templet.
Doolittle arrived on campus last fall expected to battle for the starting catching job, but he decided not to return to the program following fall practices.
“Every player has to do what they think is best for themselves,” Mainieri said. “Hunter Feduccia clearly won the starting job this fall and will be one of our best players.”
Mainieri also cited the impending return of Nick Coomes from hip surgery and the development of Braden Doughty, another freshmen catcher, as the impetus behind Doolittle’s decision to leave LSU.
“There wasn’t going to be much playing time for Doolittle,” Mainieri said.
How much this departure will impact LSU in the short term is up for debate. Doolittle wasn’t too impressive during the fall, but he did have raw power and good size as a backstop. The staff believes a fully-healthy Coomes should be a suitable backup behind Feduccia.
The departure does free up LSU to do some different things in terms of the long-term future of the position. LSU can now recruit and sign two new catchers to join the program next fall in hopes one can eventually replace Feduccia behind the plate.