I have some mid-week baseball notes for your consumption. I spoke with head coach John Cohen last night and pitching coach Butch Thompson this morning, mainly for a feature I’m doing on junior pitcher Chris Stratton.
So let’s start there with a tease of what I’m working on. Stratton, as you know, is tearing it up this year. He’s 8-0, is on the Golden Spikes Award watch list, and there’s buzz about him being a first-round pick in this summer’s MLB Draft.
The potential coaches saw in him a few years ago is coming to bloom.
“Coach Cohen and I always felt like everything’s there,” Thompson said. “The body, the person, the stuff, the mind, has always been there. I’m not surprised.”
• Between Stratton and Kendall Graveman, MSU (27-17, 10-11 SEC) has a strong Friday-Saturday punch. During SEC play, State has used four different starters for Game 3s, and it’s 4-3 in series-closing games.
Junior left-hander Luis Pollorena tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings against Ole Miss on Sunday, and he could start again at Alabama. Or it could be Evan Mitchell.
“I’m getting Evan ready for it, I’m getting Pollo ready for it, and whoever else as the dust settles through the weekend,” Thompson said. “Every game is so important. Alabama’s going to be a smaller park. Our next two weeks are going to be much smaller parks. Luis was great, but Sunday he might’ve lost two balls out of (Alabama’s) yard.”
The Crimson Tide’s field is smaller than Dudy Noble Field. Sewell-Thomas Stadium’s dimensions are 325 down the lines, 365 to the gaps and 400 to center. And there’s very little foul territory.
“You’re rewarded all around the field offensively,” Thompson said.
• On the injury front, Cohen isn’t very optimistic about the return this weekend of center fielder C.T. Bradford, who reinjured his right (non-throwing) shoulder in a collision Saturday. Bradford met with doctors Tuesday.
“It’s kind of a day-to-day, just to see how much swelling and inflammation we have on a day-to-day basis,” Cohen said. “It’s going to take an incredible, heroic act and a lot of healing for him to get back on the field, in my opinion, but I’m not the doctor.”
First baseman Wes Rea, who’s dealing with an old high school shoulder injury, did not practice Tuesday and is experiencing pain when he swings. DH/first baseman Trey Porter also sat out yesterday; he was hit in his left hand by a pitch on Sunday. X-rays showed there was no break.
Porter couldn’t catch a ball yesterday, but Cohen said, “I feel very optimistic about having him back for Friday.”