The LSU baseball team bused to Hoover, Ala., on Monday in advance of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Frustratingly for JaCoby Jones, the Tigers second baseman is merely along for the ride.
Jones is inactive for the tournament, still recovering from a wrist injury that sidelined him for last week’s regular season-ending series against Ole Miss.
“I’m just going to support the team,” Jones said, “be a good teammate.”
In his place, Mainieri put relief pitcher Hunter Newman (2-0, 2.18 earned run average in 11 appearances) on the Tigers’ 27-man roster.
Mainieri said the move gives Jones more time to heal for next week’s NCAA regional and gives LSU an extra arm for what could be a five game in five days endurance test in Hoover.
“I wanted to add another pitcher so we don’t have to run anyone into the ground prior to the NCAA tournament,” Mainieri said.
Jones injured his wrist during the Texas A&M series two weeks ago.
He said he aggravated it when he fell in his apartment when trying to move a television.
Both Mainieri and Jones said he would be available for the NCAA tournament.
Still, Jones was seen wearing a flexible brace with an electronic stimulation device embedded in it as he boarded the team bus.
With Jones benched, senior Mason Katz will again likely start at second base with Tyler Moore starting at first.
Sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn (6-2, 2.64 ERA) will get LSU’s first start in the SEC tournament Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s Alabama-Auburn game.
Staff ace Aaron Nola (10-0, 1.99), who was sidelined against Ole Miss to rest his weary right arm, will start the Tigers’ Thursday game, which could be against Arkansas or Ole Miss.
“Glenn has pitched the opening game three straight weeks and pitched well every time,” Mainieri said. “He also pitched very well against Auburn and Alabama earlier this year.”
Glenn pitched 7.2 innings of two-run ball March 24 in an 8-2 win over Auburn. He left LSU’s April 21 game at Alabama with no-decision after throwing eight innings, allowing three runs (one earned) against the Crimson Tide. “I’m really excited,” Glenn said.
“I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I know the opening game is really important to getting off to a good start and I accept that. But I won’t let it faze me.”
Mainieri said the decision to start Glenn first isn’t because Nola needs an extra day of rest.
“There’s absolutely zero wrong with him,” he said.
Katz was named Monday as LSU’s representative on the SEC Baseball Community Service team. ... Senior outfielder Raph Rhymes was named Monday as SEC and LSWA player of the week, Rhymes hit .455 (5-for-11) with a double, two home runs and six RBIs in four games. ... LSU will be going for its 10th SEC tournament title and first since winning three straight from 2008-10. The Tigers’ nine tournament titles and 64-37 (.634) record are both SEC bests.
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