Jared Foster stays focused on his third-favorite sport: baseball

Jared Foster still loves throwing the football. Mark Laird can attest.

When the LSU baseball team works out in the indoor football facility, footballs litter the area.

Foster, the Tigers’ left fielder and former walk-on quarterback, can’t resist.

“He’ll throw one,” said Laird, LSU’s right fielder.

How’s that arm?

“He still has it. If he still want to go out there (for football), he still has a chance,” Laird said with a laugh.

Foster has no plans to rejoin the LSU football team. After all, he is poised to grab a starting spot on this season’s baseball squad.

A week before LSU opens the season against UNO, Foster is at the center of one of the four position battles on a team ranked inside the top 10 by most preseason polls. There’s the one at catcher, first base, second and left field.

Foster, Sean McMullen and Chris Sciambra are competing for the left field spot. McMullen is likely in the lineup either way as LSU’s designated hitter.

Foster, a junior from Lake Charles, is trying to get there. He’s grabbed attention during these first two weeks of preseason practice.

Practice continues at 3 p.m. Friday, followed by a scrimmage at 5 p.m. The team will have scrimmages at 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

“Jared has become a real presence,” coach Paul Mainieri said last week. “He’s right up there as far as athletes on our team. Very inconsistent, but when he’s good he’s really good.”

Foster began his LSU career as a football and baseball player in 2011. He was a backup quarterback and was so buried in the depth chart that he switched his focus to baseball.

That’s not to say he doesn’t think about that other sport.

After all, Tiger Stadium is tough to miss, towering just beyond center field at Alex Box Stadium. He knows many football players and attends the games.

Foster admits to arriving at LSU wanting to play football.

“I didn’t want to play baseball,” he said.

In fact, his favorite sport was basketball, which he stopped playing as a high school junior.

Baseball, his No. 3 sport, is “the one that stuck,” he said. An infielder in high school, Foster was moved to outfield at LSU, a position he had never played.

He now calls the outfield home. He’s adjusted again this year, moving to left from right field, where he started 15 games in 2013.

He’s embraced the new position and the sport, one that doesn’t include constant jarring collisions.

“I’m not taking all of those hits out there,” he said.

Tigers have 27 TV games

LSU will have 27 regular-season games televised, including five on an ESPN network, the Southeastern Conference and school announced Thursday.

The full three-game conference series against Arkansas and Mississippi State will be televised among several networks, and the Tigers play one game on ESPN’s flagship station (at Texas A&M on May 4).

Thirteen of the 27 TV games are part of ESPN’s package with the SEC. The other 14 will be televised through other means, mainly Cox Sports.

LSU will be featured in ESPNU’s Thursday night game of the week against Ole Miss on April 17.

All games from the 2014 SEC tournament, set for May 20-25, will continue to be televised, with the championship game airing again nationally on ESPN2. The semifinals will also air nationally on ESPNEWS.