Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen previewed fall practice today at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs start full fall work Friday and will have a 4 p.m. open scrimmage. Scroll down for video of Cohen’s opening comments and his update on injuries. Otherwise, here are some excerpts of him talking about certain players, veterans and newcomers alike.
• On freshman catcher Daniel Garner: “He is a professional-looking hitter. He’s a guy with power, he’s a guy who I think has the ability to hit for average.”
• On Daryl Norris at third base: “One of our goals with Daryl coming into the fall is doing a better job handling the breaking ball. That’s the issue for him. If he proves to us he can do that, he can be our guy at third base, but we do have some options there.”
• On sophomore second baseman Matthew Britton: “Matthew Britton has come back a very confident young man, and I think he’s going to be a much improved offensive player. He has a chance to be a great, great player for us as well.”
• On senior infielder Sam Frost: “If you’d have told me four years ago that Sam Frost was a guy who was going to end up having a chance to help us offensively, I would’ve had a lot of doubt there. But Sam has worked so, so hard and has really found his short game, his bunting game, and I think he’s really going to be a factor for us on the infield as well.”
• On junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe: “When you add all of the speed and the arm strength and the power, he is a special guy with special abilities, and he is such a much more confident young man now.”
• Cohen said both sophomore first baseman Wes Rea and sophomore closer Jonathan Holder dropped 22 pounds in the offseason. Rea, a star offensive lineman in high school, is now about 270.
• On sophomore Brandon Woodruff (Wheeler): “Brandon’s one of those guys that could just emerge … as maybe one of those 80-, 90-, 100-inning guys as a starter if he gets on a roll.”
• On the left-field fence at Dudy Noble Field being moved in about 10 feet: “In our BP sessions our guys have been amazed how much of a non-factor it is. It’s really not as big a factor as – I kind of felt it was going to be that way. Because it’s not the distance, it’s how the ball flies.”
• On senior pitcher Chad Girodo, who was 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA in 7 2/3 innings last year but had an outstanding summer in California: “He’s a guy who can make that jump. Chris Stratton’s a guy who made that jump a year ago. At this point in time a year ago we weren’t sure what Chris Stratton’s role was going to be for us, or what he was going to be able to do. You need older kids to make jumps, and I think Chad’s one of those guys who’s very capable of doing that.”