The Shockers open up Tuesday at Kansas and The Eagle/Kansas.com season preview runs Sunday. Here’s a few items picked up this week.
Reliever Grant Muncrief threw in a scrimmage on Tuesday. Logan Hoch is scheduled to throw today. Both look good as the return from injury. Pitching coach Brent Kemnitz isn’t sure if they will be ready to go next week, but that is a possibility if they can continue to progress. Reliever Tyler Fleming, also recovering from surgery, is a little behind. It may be two or three weeks before he is ready.
Tim Kelley will start against KU in a predetermined split. He will probably throw around 75-80 pitches.
Sophomore Chance Sossamon gets first shot at closing, a position he earned with his performance late last season. Most of the lineup will likely look similar to last season. Clint McKeever at 1B, Will Baez at 2B, Tyler Grimes at SS and Ryan Jones in RF. Kevin Hall, back from an injury, should start in CF. According to coach Gene Stephenson, Cody Lassley and Chris O’Brien are fairly even at C, with Lassley having the edge from starting in 2009. He likes both options. LF and 3B are under construction. In left, Travis Bennett, the transfer from Northern Iowa, is a possibility. So is freshman Garrett Bayliff, who is making good strides. Johnny Coy is playing there. Returner Bret Bascue is in the picture. At third, Coy, freshman Erik Harbutz and freshman Nate Goro are in the mix. I get the feeling Coy’s hitting ability will get him in the lineup somewhere at some point. Goro is the best defender of the group. Harbutz may be the middle ground, better than Goro offensively and better than Coy defensively. Coaches like his bat. He played shortstop in high school and during most of the fall. As always, the first weeks of the season will be about sorting these things out. The Shockers scimmaged outdoors Tuesday and Wednesday, so in many ways coaches are getting a first look at their lineups. The indoor practice facility is a great help, but everybody tends to look good in comfy settings. That leaves a lot of possibilities for DH, including junior Preston Springer. Kansas is moving its opening series to the Metrodome.