Kyle Bouman won’t put a percentage on his recovering sprained ankle.
So, the LSU pitcher offers this: “If it’s good enough for me to go into a game, that’s all that matters,” he said.
It’s good enough.
Bouman likely will start Sunday’s game against Arkansas (21-13, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) as he completes monthlong rehabilitation from a badly sprained ankle.
Coach Paul Mainieri is not listing a Sunday starter but has told Arkansas coach Dave van Horn to expect Bouman to start.
“I’m not trying to play any games,” Mainieri said.
Bouman, a junior-college transfer from Missouri, made his first start in three weeks in a 17-4 win over Mississippi State on Sunday. He threw 3.1 innings in an outing that Mainieri was pleased with.
Bouman threw a bullpen session Wednesday, and the ankle felt fine. Mainieri said the ankle was “a little bit sore.”
“If I had to guess, I’d say it’s 75 percent sure he’s going to throw on Sunday,” Mainieri said.
In Bouman’s absence in Sunday games against Florida and Georgia, LSU (25-8-1, 6-5-1) used a group of relievers. The Tigers tied with Georgia and lost to Florida.
Every year when the SEC baseball schedule is released, Mainieri said he scans the slate for a certain team: Arkansas.
“It just seems the (SEC) West always comes down to us and Arkansas,” the coach said.
LSU or Arkansas has won the division nine of the past 11 seasons. LSU has won six times and Arkansas three.
Just once has LSU or Arkansas won the division without winning the regular-season conference series between the rivals.
The Razorbacks and Tigers enter this series amid a bunched West Division. LSU’s tie has them a spot above the Hogs through four of the 10-series SEC schedule.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen this year. Everybody’s all bunched together,” Mainieri said. “It just seems whoever wins that series, seems to win the SEC West.”
At this point last season, Cody Glenn began moving into the role as LSU’s No. 2 pitcher.
Glenn is out of the weekend rotation this season, and it’s unclear what his role is on the team about halfway through the season.
“It’s hard to say,” Mainieri said. “He’s got to wait his turn and, when the time is right, you use him. Can’t really define that time right now.”
Glenn faced one batter in Wednesday’s win over Lamar, his first appearance since starting a week before in a win over McNeese State. He lasted just 1.2 innings against McNeese.
Glenn has gone four innings or less in five of his seven starts this season and has allowed 15 earned runs in 28.1 innings.
“We’re going to need him before the season is over,” Mainieri said. “There’s no doubt about that. Other pitchers are going to get an opportunity before him. He’s had several opportunities. I don’t think he can complain about that. Some guys pitched better than him, so they’ll get the opportunities first.”
Hale expected back
Conner Hale, who had a root canal Tuesday and missed Wednesday’s win over Lamar, is expected to play this weekend.
The first/second baseman practiced with the team Thursday. Mainieri said he’s “very confident” Hale will return to the lineup.