No. 13 Mississippi State (18-2), which is coming off a 13-5 trouncing of Southern Miss on Tuesday, opens SEC play this weekend at home versus No. 7 LSU. We caught up with head coach John Cohen this morning on a teleconference, and he talked about the pitching situation, injuries and a key player who’s battling through a slump.
• Cohen feels confident that sophomore Jacob Lindgren (2-0, 0.96 ERA), who took a line drive off his left knee last weekend and suffered a bone bruise, will be available to start on the mound Friday night. Lindgren threw a long toss session and then a short bullpen yesterday, and all appears well.
“We feel like he’s going to be available to us on Friday night,” Cohen said. “We’ll check in with him today and obviously tomorrow, but we’re very optimistic he’s going to be able to take the mound on Friday.”
• As for the rest of the rotation, it is tentatively set to be as it has been, with Evan Mitchell (0-0, 2.30) to start Saturday and Kendall Graveman (1-1, 2.61) to go Sunday.
“We’ll put that to bed tomorrow morning,” Cohen said.
• First baseman Wes Rea, who’s been out with a quad injury, will likely remain on the bench this weekend. Cohen is being very careful with the slugger.
“Wes can’t run full speed right now. We feel like we can’t play him,” said Cohen. “The last time he went out he re-injured his quad and it’s very painful for him to run full speed. Certainly we feel like we’re at our best if he’s part of our lineup. It’s possible he could play this weekend, but it’s possible he could get going full speed again and re-injure the leg. We’ll play that day by day and we’ll see what happens.”
• And finally, center fielder C.T. Bradford has been mired in a slump lately, going 1 of 22 at the plate in his last six games. He’s still batting .307 on the year, and while Cohen isn’t too concerned about Bradford, he knows the Bulldogs need him playing better.
“I think it’s really important, because we couldn’t envision being as good as we needed to be without C.T. Bradford. He’s very aware of that – maybe too much. Maybe he’s acutely aware of the fact that he’s hit too many fly balls. But I assure you nobody is working harder than C.T. to try and remedy that. I know he will come out of it, because he’s too smart, he’s too good a player.”