Freshman pitcher’s promising year derailed by labrum injury
LSU’s pitching rotation is in a state of flux after midweek starter Russell Reynolds was lost for the rest of the college baseball season because of a tear in the labrum in his pitching shoulder.
The tear was discovered during an examination Thursday, which was scheduled after Reynolds said he didn’t feel right during a start Tuesday night against Alcorn State. Reynolds — a freshman right-hander who had pitched very well in each of his previous three starts — struggled against the Braves, allowing two home runs and three runs while lasting just two innings in a 7-3 Tigers victory.
Coach Paul Mainieri was already undecided about his Sunday starter for this weekend’s series against No. 9 Kentucky because sophomore left-hander Cody Glenn has pitched poorly in two of his three Sunday starts against Southeastern Conference teams.
Mainieri likely won’t settle on his Sunday starter until after Saturday’s game. After the weekend, he said, he’ll decide what to do for midweek pitching, as LSU plays back-to-back games against Southern on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Tuesday game is a rescheduling of the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Classic, which was rained out this past Tuesday.
“We’ll see who’s available and who needs some work,” Mainieri said. “It’s very sad for Russell. My thoughts right now are not so much about the way this affects the team as I feel bad for the kid. But this will give someone else an opportunity.”
Freshman left-hander Hunter Devall had his longest and best outing of the season in relief of Reynolds against Alcorn, throwing four scoreless innings to improve to 2-0. He and freshman right-hander Hunter Newman could be candidates for a more significant role in Reynolds’ absence.
The anticipated return of junior right-hander Kurt McCune, who hasn’t pitched this season because of a back injury, could help. McCune pitched to hitters in practice for the first time Thursday and barring any setbacks he will make his season debut against the Jaguars.
Mainieri said Reynolds (1-0, 1.89 ERA) will have surgery, likely in the next week or so. The long-term prognosis wasn’t immediately clear.
After receiving the news, Reynolds tweeted: “Not the results I wanted at all. But everything happens for a reason.”
Mainieri said Reynolds was the most impressive of the first-year pitchers during the fall, but he missed 2½ weeks early in the season after experiencing what was termed minor soreness in the shoulder after two relief appearances.
The good news for the Tigers is that their Friday and Saturday pitching is in capable hands, with Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades, respectively.