Star pitcher Kevin Gausman said he’s considering a return to LSU for his junior season — instead of signing a contract with the Baltimore Orioles, who made him the No. 4 overall selection in last month’s Major League Baseball draft.
But LSU coach Paul Mainieri sent out a message late Monday night telling fans not to get too excited.
“Kevin is still in negotiations with the Orioles, and any reports portraying his return to LSU as definite are premature,” Mainieri said in a statement released through LSU.
“This is a monumental decision in Kevin’s life, and as much as we want him back with us, we also want him to do what is in his best interest. The signing deadline is at 4 p.m. Friday, so we’ll allow the process to play itself out until that time.”
Gausman, of course, was the Tigers’ No. 1 pitcher last season, going 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 123.2 innings.
He and LSU lost to Stony Brook in three games at the Baton Rouge Super Regional last month at Alex Box Stadium.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander from Centennial, Colo., was the first pitcher taken in the MLB draft and seemed a virtual shoo-in to sign with the Orioles.
“I also believe I’ll only continue to improve and become a more complete pitcher working with (LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn),” Gausman told NOLA.com. “I have no problem at all going back to LSU. We’ll see what happens.”
Dunn just completed his first season at LSU.
Before that, Dunn spent five years in the Orioles organization.
Gausman was a first-team All-American and was named Louisiana Pitcher of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.