BATON ROUGE, La. — The list of injuries on the LSU baseball team has continued to grow this offseason.
Most notably and painfully, the Tigers are without starting pitcher Eric Walker, who had Tommy John surgery on the damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will miss the entirety of the 2018 season. LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri said on Wednesday he expects Walker’s rehab to last at least a full year, slotting him at a return to the mound for short throwing exercises around June or July of 2018.
But beyond Walker, the Tigers have a wide menagerie of injuries worth noting. First baseman and catcher Nick Coomes underwent hip surgery earlier this month and will miss fall camp as a result. Without Coomes, the Tigers don’t have any returning catchers heading into the fall of 2018, and won’t have a returning first baseman with Jake Slaughter moving to second or third base.
In addition to Coomes, the LSU baseball team will have to do without Rankin Woley in the infield for the foreseeable future. Woley had surgery on one arm Wednesday, and will have surgery on his other arm in two weeks. The surgery, according to Mainieri, was to release tension building up around his nerves, a problem resulting from Woley’s densely-massive 215-pound frame.
Woley was and is an option competing for the starting second base position vacated by Cole Freeman.
In slightly better news, designated hitter and infielder Bryce Jordan is continuing his recovery from the torn ACL that kept him out for all of 2017. Mainieri said he anticipates Jordan to be back at full health by the time fall rolls around and to compete for the starting job at first base, as well as at designated hitter. Jordan was a first-team All-SEC DH in 2016.
As far as pitchers, Mainieri mentioned two players going through rehab regimens. Left-hander Nick Bush had to leave his summer league team after two outings after reporting discomfort in his throwing shoulder. And right-hander Todd Peterson is working to get back in shape after he fell out of conditioning at the end of last season. Mainieri said Peterson’s weight fluctuated upward and that put stress on his throwing shoulder, rendering him unable to pitch deep into key games in the College World Series as Mainieri would’ve preferred.
But Bush wasn’t the only player sent home from summer ball. Incoming freshman catcher Mason Doolittle had to leave his team after being drilled in the head with a 94 mph fastball and sustaining a concussion. Mainieri said he expects Doolittle to recover fully, but as a precaution Doolittle is back home in Jupiter, Fla. recovering from the injury with his family.