Another one of LSU’s pitchers is going on the shelf.
Sophomore right-hander AJ Labas underwent shoulder surgery on Thursday and will miss the entire 2019 season, LSU coach Paul Mainieri announced Friday.
Labas had been battling shoulder soreness dating back to the end of the 2018 regular season. He sat out the postseason and didn’t so much as throw during fall baseball. Now the former Freshman All-American is set to miss all of 2019.
“We were very hopeful he was going to be able to recover, but he’d take one step forward and two steps back,” Mainieri said. “I do think we have the pitching to be able to overcome it in terms of quality and depth. My only concern is for AJ’s health.
Mainieri also announced that veteran infielder Chris Reid will rejoin the program for his senior season. Infielder Michael Kirsch is no longer with the program as LSU opened up a roster spot for Reid.
Reid was essentially cut from the program as a 35-man roster casualty back in August but remained enrolled in school. LSU completed the process of getting Reid’s eligibility restored and he’ll rejoin the program on Saturday.
“It was a disappointing day last summer when I talked to Chris, and obviously he was disappointed,” Mainieri said. “I think the world of Chris and he contributed to our team in a big way. He was an awesome teammate.”
The coach continued: “I hate to say I made a mistake with the decision because my intentions were good, but we rectified a situation that probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I’m man enough to admit I made a mistake there.”
LSU hopes Reid can provide reliable depth on the left side of the infield. Mainieri expressed concern about the defensive capabilities of the freshmen who were slated to back up Josh Smith and Hal Hughes at shortstop and third base, respectively.
Reid has stayed busy between pickup basketball and coaching a youth baseball team, according to Mainieri. The coach wasn’t particularly concerned about Reid’s ability to step in and contribute despite being away from the team since last summer.
“I know Chris Reid can make the routine plays and he’ll give you a professional at-bat, so him coming back to the team gives me a lot of peace of mind,” Mainieri said. “I think Chris could not play for 10 years and he could still put the bat on the ball or make a routine play.”