LSU baseball continued its fall practice period on Monday with an intrasquad scrimmage at Alex Box Stadium.
Cole Henry returns
Sophomore pitcher Cole Henry returned to the mound for the “gold” team, sporting a sleeve on his pitching arm after elbow soreness forced him out of the Tigers’ rotation for a month last season and again after two innings in the Tigers’ Super Regional against Florida State in June.
Henry threw 31 pitches in two innings during the scrimmage on Monday. It’s a positive step for Henry, who threw 41 pitches in his last live outing.
“His command wasn’t great, but he’s throwing hard,” said coach Paul Mainieri. “Cole’s going to be fine. He’s 100% healthy.”
Mainieri said that Henry is regaining his strength after losing about nine pounds due to a stomach flu last week.
Junior catcher Saul Garza will miss all of fall camp after undergoing surgery on his left thumb, Mainieri announced on Friday.
Garza hyper-extended his thumb over the summer during play in the Cape Cod League, said Mainieri. He opted for surgery after experiencing pain two months after the injury but is expected to be fully healthy for the spring.
Garza finished last season with a .303 batting average, five home runs and 27 RBIs. He was a big reason for LSU’s strong finish, and in his absence, LSU will rely on freshmen catchers Alex Milazzo and Hayden Travinski.
Mainieri also said that Travinski showed concussion symptoms after taking a pitch to the head in Sunday’s scrimmage, but he will be fine for the rest of fall once cleared.
Milazzo and junior Braden Doughty saw action at catcher in Monday’s scrimmage. In the first two days of practice, Milazzo threw out three base runners attempting to steal.
“We knew [Milazzo] could throw,” said Mainieri. “He just needs to experience the game and continue to improve.”
Prep Baseball Report ranked Milazzo No. 3 overall in Louisiana’s 2019 recruiting class.
No. 6 ranked recruiting class
Collegiate Baseball recently ranked the Tigers’ 14-man recruiting class No. 6 in the country. Four players — outfielder Maurice Hampton and infielders Zach Arnold, Zack Mathis and Cade Doughty — were drafted into the MLB but decided to go to LSU.
“[Wes] Toups is a scrappy little player, and Mitchell Sanford, I think, has a lot of upside,” Mainieri said about his recruiting class. “I hate to even single out anybody because I’m excited about all of them.”
It’s a big boost for LSU, which lost five starters in the field. Both of LSU’s top hitters in shortstop Josh Smith and right fielder Antoine Duplantis are gone along with center fielder Zach Watson and second baseman Brandt Broussard.