LSU returns to action Wednesday night against Southeastern
By JAMES MORAN
Tiger Rag Associate Editor
Fresh off a road sweep of Missouri, Paul Mainieri sat in his office regaling media members with stories from his 34 years spent coaching in the college coaching ranks.
None of those intrepid tales proved as befuddling to the long-time coach as the current status of prized southpaw Jake Latz.
Mainieri told reporters Monday that the redshirt-freshman felt discomfort in his surgically-repaired left elbow after his 1.1-inning debut last Tuesday. Latz didn’t travel with the team to Columbia, and Mainieri said he won’t pitch in a game this week.
“It’s just the most baffling thing I’ve ever dealt with as a coach, honestly,” Mainieri said. “But we have to go with how he’s feeling, and after he pitched, the next day, it didn’t feel terrible, but he felt it on that same spot. So we can’t push it.”
As of Monday, Mainieri wasn’t sure whether Latz would have to go back and see a doctor. He also wasn’t sure if Latz would be able to continue throwing in the time being, though he reiterated he wouldn’t be appearing in any games “right now.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Mainieri said. “I wish I could tell you a good answer, but I don’t have one.”
LOCHRIDGE REMAINS OUT
After yet another setback last week, Mainieri ruled O’Neal Lochridge out for the weekend and expressed “concern” when asked if the freshman’s ailing back will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
The rookie third baseman appeared to be making progress toward returning last week, practicing in full on Monday and going through team warm-ups prior to Tuesday’s midweek contest. He then didn’t participate in warm-ups Wednesday and stayed home from the trip to Missouri.
“It’s just when he’s hitting that he feels it,” Mainieri said. “We have to do what’s right for the boy. It’s not as bad as it once was, but it’s still preventing him from being able to play.”
Fellow freshman Chris Reid continues to man the hot corner in Lochridge’s absence.
– Mainieri declined to name a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s midweek contest against Southeastern. He knows who will pitch, he said, but hadn’t yet informed the player.
– Continuing with the season of anniversaries, LSU will hold a 20-year reunion for the 1996 national championship team prior to Saturday’s game against Mississippi State. Eddy Furniss, one of the stars of that club, will have his No. 36 retired prior to Friday night’s game.