We got John Cohen on the phone this morning in advance of this weekend’s series at Alabama. So let’s hit a few highlights.
• Outfielder C.T. Bradford (shoulder) is definitely out for this weekend, and the rest of his season is up in the air.
“There are some decisions to be made about does he have surgery, does he go ahead and rehab it,” Cohen said. “… I’ve been talking to C.T., and we’ll see exactly how this thing is going to play out. We really don’t know. We don’t want to take a chance on getting C.T. hurt worse.”
• Outfielder Taylor Stark, who’s been very limited with a hamstring injury, might see some time at the plate this weekend. He hasn’t had an at-bat since March 11, although he’s made a handful of pitching appearances since then.
Cohen said Stark’s availability to hit could be a “big shot in the arm.” He was batting .278 when he got injured.
• Regarding Alabama, that’s a team that has struggled (17-28 overall, 6-15 SEC), but Cohen is wary of the Tide. “They’re a very dangerous club for us to be playing, because they have nothing to lose. They have everything to gain. They’re a talented club that just hasn’t found their way this year.”
• Bama plays in a park smaller than MSU’s Dudy Noble Field, and pitching coach Butch Thompson told me earlier this week that Sewell-Thomas Stadium is “really set up offensive.” Cohen agrees but isn’t too worried about how his pitchers will handle a hitter-friendly setting, pointing to the fact that guys like Chris Stratton and Kendall Graveman have pitched there before.
“That’s why I have so much confidence in our pitchers. … We have some experience.”
• Redshirt freshman first baseman Wes Rea has struggled at the plate. He went 0 for 8 last weekend versus Ole Miss and is hitting .265 for the season with a team-high 49 strikeouts. Cohen said Rea needs to be better at pitch selection.
“It’s not the beauty of the swing that wins, it’s the selection process of the pitch,” he said. “Quite frankly, that’s an area that Wes needs to impnrove in.”