Rebels’ closer should be OK

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – A Sunday evening MRI showed inflammation in the shoulder but no structural damage for Ole Miss relief pitcher Jake Morgan, and Rebels coach Mike Bianco is hopeful his star closer will be available for this weekend’s SEC series at Tennessee.
Morgan was seen by Ole Miss training staff in the ninth inning of the Rebels’ 6-4 loss to Alabama on Sunday before leaving the game in obvious pain.
Morgan, a right-hander, is 2-0 with five saves – one of them Friday night against the Crimson Tide – and has not allowed an earned run in his eight appearances over 182⁄3 innings.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I don’t think it’s out of the question that he’ll be ready to pitch this weekend,” Bianco said. “It’s too early to tell yet.”
A fifth-year senior from Canton, Morgan missed the entire 2010 season following Tommy John surgery (elbow) in the fall of 2009.
As the team’s closer, he was a key part of the Rebels’ success in 2009 when they shared the SEC regular season championship with LSU and hosted an NCAA Super Regional against Virginia.
Morgan’s pain is in the AC joint, the part of the shoulder that allows the arm to rise above the head. He responded well to medication and was feeling “much better” on Monday than on Sunday, Bianco said.
Morgan rested Monday and is scheduled to throw and catch today. Then he’ll be observed daily before a decision is made on when he’ll pitch.
“I have no doubt he will pitch again soon. How soon, I don’t know yet,” Bianco said. “A lot will depend on how he feels tomorrow when he plays catch. Certainly we don’t want to run him out there if he’s not ready.”

Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or parrish.alford@journalinc.com.