Good news on Olenek; McArthur to make return

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Ole Miss baseball got some good health news today.

The X-rays came back clean for sophomore outfielder Ryan Olenek, who was hit by a pitch on the left hand twice over the weekend against Vanderbilt.

“There’s no break. It’s negative. He’ll be fine,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.

Olenek remained in the game Saturday after he was hit the first time but left the game Sunday.

The Rebels also will have sophomore right-hander James McArthur back in the rotation this week at Kentucky.

McArthur missed his last two starts with soreness in his forearm. He has been the Rebels’ Game 2 weekend starter but will start Game 1 in a Thursday-Saturday series this week against the Wildcats.

“James looks great,” Bianco said. “We were hopeful that would be this past weekend, but we wanted to wait one more week until he felt nothing in the forearm. At the end of last week he started feeling good, but he hadn’t spun any breaking balls yet. He started throwing breaking balls over the weekend, threw a bullpen today, and said he feels as good as he’s ever felt in his life.”

David Parkinson, the regular Friday starter, will start Friday, and Saturday’s starter is TBA.

Olenek is hitting .290 in 19 starts. He was 3 for 10 against Vanderbilt.

McArthur is 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 15 1-3 innings. He has struck out 20, walked six, and opponents are hitting .135 against him.

Bianco also announced that senior Sean Johnson will start Tuesday’s game at Memphis.

Johnson has been recovering from a fractured wrist and threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts last week against Nicholls State.

Johnson was coming off Tommy John surgery and 2016 and often struggled with command. He appeared in 11 games and went 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in 32 2-3 innings.

“He probably pitched last year when he wasn’t ready to pitch,” Bianco said. “Health-wise he was released, but you’re asking a lot for a guy to step in and pitch in the SEC when he’s less than a year out of surgery. He fought, he competed. Now that he’s back the command looks better. After the fractured hand he looked terrific down in Biloxi, and he’s ready for this.”

Twitter: @parrishalford

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