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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baseball season just around the corner for Auburn

Hard to believe, but the Auburn baseball team opens its season a week from Friday at home against Southeast Missouri State. Tigers coach John Pawlowski spoke to reporters this evening. Here's a Cliff's notes version of what he had to say:
  • Pawlowski thinks he's got some more options in the pitching staff. For now, Grant Dayton and Jon Luke Jacobs figure to be starters, with 6-foot-7 junior college transfer Cole Nelson the front-runner to be the third starter. Austin Hubbard and Bradley Hendrix are back in the bullpen.
  • JC transfer Stephen Kohlscheen (6-6 right-hander) is an option out of the bullpen. So is Cory Luckie is back after missing last year for arm surgery and will start in the 'pen with a chance to work into the rotation.
  • "This league is about having depth and enough arms, because it's such an offensive league," Pawlowski said. "I feel like we have more options."
  • OF Trent Mummey could be out 4 to 6 weeks with an ankle injury. Speedster Justin Fradejas, a JC transfer from Northwest Florida State, will take his place in center field. Pawlowski called him the team's best runner.
  • 1B Hunter Morris is slimmed down from last year. He said he dropped 30 pounds initially, then built himself back up "the right way." He said his athleticism has "gone through the roof" and his defensive footwork at first base is as good as it has been.
  • Two positions of note are third base and right field. Pawlowski said Dan Gamache and Wes Gilmore are battling for the third base spot, with Gamache in the lead. Creede Simpson, an Auburn High grad who also went to NW Florida State, could be the starting right fielder.
  • Auburn will split catching duties, at least early on, between Ryan Jenkins and Tony Caldwell. Jenkins missed all of last year with a wrist injury. Pawlowski said one could DH while the other one catches if there's a left-handed pitcher.
  • Auburn was all or nothing last year, either hitting home runs or striking out. But the Tigers have worked on their approach with new hitting coach Link Jarrett. "We're trying to get our offense to be mature and have professional at-bats," Pawlowski said.
  • "It's not about putting up 2, 3, 4-run innings," Morris said. "It's about getting guys on base, moving guys over."
  • Auburn hasn't been to the SEC tournament in a minute (2003 to be exact). Pawlowski is well aware. "That's a fact and we want to change that," he said.
  • "It's huge for this university and this baseball program," Morris said. "The people of Auburn deserve a lot more than what we've given them."

1 comment:

Peter Frankenschmidt said...

Thanks for the coverage. Baseball should be fun to watch this year.