Wichita State outfielder Garrett Bayliff walked into coach Gene Stephenson’s office and got a big hug.
Stephenson was happy to see him. He will be even happier if Bayliff’s ankle surgery — his third — is a success.
Bayliff underwent surgery on his right ankle on Wednesday in Charlotte, N.C. and is on crutches. He will not practice this fall. Stephenson hopes he will be healthy when the Shockers begin practices in January. Stephenson said the procedure removed loose bodies and scar tissue from the ankle, originally injured early in the 2011 season.
“(The surgeon) is very optimistic that the ankle itself is stable,” Stephenson said. “He felt like within four months he would have a complete recovery.”
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Bayliff, a redshirt junior from Tuttle, Okla., played six games in 2011 before being injured sliding into second base. He played 21 last season before ankle pain shut him down for the rest of the spring. He did not play this summer.
“It will be a major recovery story after going through what he’s gone through,” Stephenson said. “We’re all hoping and praying that he will be in a position where he can realize some of his dreams. Nobody’s worked harder.”
WSU begins fall practices Monday.
Sooner to Shocker — Junior infielder Chase Simpson has transferred to WSU, Stephenson said. He will practice with the team this season but is not eligible in 2013. He will have two seasons of eligibility beginning in 2014.
Simpson, from Flower Mound, Texas, hit .250 and started 12 games for Oklahoma last season. He hit .309 with 12 doubles as a freshman at Weatherford (Texas) College.
Simpson (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) played for Mankato (Minn.) in the Northwoods League this summer, hitting .284 with 14 doubles and three home runs.
Also new to the team is catcher Casey Lassley, brother of former Shocker Cody Lassley. Casey Lassley is a junior transfer from Cowley College.
Bush granted release — Washburn has given WSU men’s basketball player Zach Bush a release from his national letter of intent.
Bush, from Goddard Eisenhower, signed with NCAA Division II Washburn in April. He then decided to walk on at Wichita State.
Bush said a representative of the NCAA’s letter of intent office told him Washburn failed to give him proper notification of the decision not to release him.
“That automatically released me and we don’t have to go through the appeals process,” he said.
The release means Bush will have four seasons of eligibility at WSU. He is eligible to play this season, although he said he plans to redshirt.