Stratton could move to bullpen

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

With so much on the line, John Cohen will do whatever he must with his pitchers to get the best results. That could mean a drastic change of scenery for Chris Stratton.
The sophomore right-hander from Tupelo has continued to struggle, and with LSU coming to town Thursday for a critical three-game series, Cohen is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach. The only way the Bulldogs don’t qualify for the SEC Tournament is by being swept, but beyond that, they want to finish strong and get the highest seed possible.
So Stratton (5-6, 5.17 ERA), who recently was moved into the No. 3 starting role, could be moved to the bullpen against what an LSU lineup dominated by right-handed hitters.
“I know he will do whatever role we ask him to play to help us win a baseball game,” Cohen said. “I think he might match up better with LSU than he did with Ole Miss just because there’s so much more right-handed in their lineup, at least they were against Tennessee.”
Cohen said he still likes Stratton as a starter, noting that his arm was sore entering his outing against Ole Miss on Saturday, when he allowed six runs in two-thirds of an inning. He said that if Stratton is moved to the bullpen, it won’t be health-related.
“I can tell you this much,” Cohen said, “if a kid doesn’t pitch when he’s not feeling 100 percent, pitching rotations at any level would never exist.”
If a change is made, it would be the third major weekend rotation shift of the season. Cohen didn’t say who the Saturday starter might be if it’s not Stratton.
Thursday’s starter will be sophomore Luis Pollorena, (6-3, 3.02) while junior Nick Routt (2-2, 3.86) will go Friday.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@journalinc.com.