LSU pitching staff depth takes another hit

Paul Mainieri’s pitching depth continues to dwindle.

LSU (17-4, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) heads into Wednesday’s game against South Alabama with 12 healthy pitchers, about five fewer than the norm.

Former Runnels star Alden Cartwright, a reliever, is the latest to drop from the available ranks after last weekend’s series loss at Vanderbilt. He is likely out two weeks with a muscle strain in his shoulder.

Cartwright’s void has created a shuffle on the LSU pitching staff and has left Mainieri feeling a “little nervous” about the depth.

“Let’s hope we can keep everybody else healthy,” Mainieri said.

“Starts to get a little bit thin when you have four games in a week, and outside of (Aaron) Nola, you don’t have really that one guy that’s going to dominate and pitch deep into the game.”

Mainieri is moving Brady Domangue from the midweek starting slot back into the bullpen to take Cartwright’s place. Cody Glenn will move out of the pen and start against South Alabama (10-8).

Both could be temporary moves until Cartwright returns.

He is expected to be examined by a doctor Tuesday. He injured the shoulder while throwing a curveball during a relief appearance in the first game Saturday of the doubleheader in Nashville, Tenn., Mainieri said.

Glenn gets a crack at starting again. He lost out to junior Kyle Bouman for a weekend job after a rough four starts during the season-opening nonconference schedule.

Glenn has a 4.79 ERA.

He started his relief appearance in Saturday’s rubber match at Vanderbilt by hitting a batter to load the bases and then issuing a bases-loaded walk.

“I think Cody Glenn gives us the best chance to win,” Mainieri said. “He was in the running to be a starting pitcher on the weekend. Still in the running to be a starting pitcher for us.”

Weekend shift

The weekend starting rotation this week against Georgia (13-8, 1-2) will include the same three pitchers — Nola, Bouman and Jared Poché — but the order may change, Mainieri said. Poché might be moved into the Saturday role.

Bouman and Poché each had a rocky inning in their first SEC start at Vanderbilt in Saturday’s doubleheader, which the Commodores swept to win the series.

Bouman had a 41-pitch first inning, allowing three hits and three runs. Poché walked five, one intentionally, during his outing. He allowed back-to-back doubles that started a three-run second inning for Vanderbilt.

Mainieri saw Poché and Bouman at the team hotel Sunday morning and called both off to the side for a word.

“I said, ‘You guys realize you actually did better than Aaron Nola did in his first SEC start,’” Mainieri said.

Nola gave up a five-run first inning in his first SEC start at Mississippi State in 2012.

Person’s role same — for now

Mainieri is tempted to “expand” reliever Zac Person’s role to include starting.

Person appears to be moving up in the bullpen pecking order and is sliding into the role held by Kurt McCune, the coach said.

Expanding him to a starter has been discussed, but the staff doesn’t want to mess with something good. In 61⁄3 innings, Person has struck out nine and has not allowed a run.

“There’s a little bit of temptation to expand his role,” the coach said. “(Alan Dunn) and I have talked about it a lot. I don’t know. I think Zac is going to be one of those guys real valuable for us in the late innings, combined with (Parker) Bugg and (Joe) Broussard.”

Happy with one

LSU has lost six straight series to Vanderbilt, and Mainieri, before Friday’s series-opening win, had never won a game at Vanderbilt in his time at LSU.

The coach said he was happy to win one against a Vanderbilt team that might have the best pitching staff in the nation.

“You want to win series. We’re going to win our series,” Mainieri said. “This was a good series to get one win in.”

Inside baseball premieres

Inside LSU Baseball will make its debut at 10 p.m. Tuesday on WBTR Channel 19 and at 10:30 p.m. on Cox Cable Channel 4.

The weekly 30-minute television program features Mainieri and host Jim Hawthorne. It will show game highlights, player profiles and in-depth stories on LSU baseball.

Inside LSU Baseball will be also carried on network affiliates in New Orleans, Lafayette, Monroe, Morgan City and Lake Charles.