BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU baseball team will be without a veteran leader when it reconvenes for practice this fall.
First baseman Nick Coomes will miss fall practice recovering from hip surgery, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri told Tiger Rag on Thursday. An LSU-Eunice transfer, Coomes hit .303 with 20 runs scored and 24 RBI in 46 games in 2016, working primarily as a first baseman. A natural catcher, Coomes was expected to be one of the leaders in the competition to fill Michael Papierski’s vacancy behind the plate.
Mainieri said the surgery will be to remove a bone spur from Coomes’ hip. Coomes experienced pain in his hip and missed a handful of games in 2016 related to the pain. Without Coomes, LSU’s situation at first base and catcher becomes complicated.
If Coomes can’t practice, LSU doesn’t return a catcher who caught a game in 2016. The Tigers will bring in Mason Doolittle and Hunter Feduccia, but it’s a lot to ask newcomers to handle LSU’s already-young pitching rotation.
Over at first base, without Coomes, it’s intuitive to think Jake Slaughter will remain at the position. Slaughter started 40 games for the Tigers as a freshman in 2016 and was a more fluid defender at first base than Coomes. But the expectation was Slaughter would move to either second base or third base to fill holes left by Cole Freeman and Kramer Robertson (by way of Josh Smith) at more premium defensive positions.
First base is an easier hole to fill if Slaughter can’t play the part. The Tigers have options ranging from rising sophomore Rankin Woley to Bryce Jordan, a former All-SEC designated hitter and senior recovering from knee surgery.