Large to get Weekend Off - Possibly

T.J. Large, Alabama's regular Friday night starter who has pitched in a game every week since the beginning of the season in early February, will have this weekend's series against off if everything goes according to Jim Wells' plan.

Alabama (34-16, 14-10 SEC) hosts Arkansas (35-14, 11-13 SEC) for three games in Tuscaloosa this weekend.

Large, who is 6-4 on the year with a 2.93 ERA, had his shortest outing of the season last Friday against Mississippi State, throwing 50 pitches and recording just four outs.

"I think he's a little fatigued. We are trying to rest him. It's the old double edged sword - you need to win now, you need to win later - you need to win," Wells said during a media teleconference on Wednesday. "Does that mean he's off? Not necessarily, but he's not going to pitch Friday or Saturday."

Wade LeBlanc will move into the Friday pitch slot and Brandon Belcher will start Saturday for the Tide. Sunday's start has yet to be named.

"I don't think there's a problem with LeBlanc moving up and I don't see a problem with Belcher now that he's going to be able to go deeper into the game," Wells said.

Large had gone over the 100-pitch mark in his past 11 outings prior to the Mississippi State series, including a season-high 141-pitch game against Vanderbilt and a 130-pitch outing against LSU in back-to-back weeks.

"When a guy compiles that many pitches for the season and he's the only guy who has pitched every week you're kind of waiting for a mini-breakdown," Wells said. "Hopefully he can rest a little bit so hopefully you can see the performances he had before."

He has allowed 27 earned runs in 83 innings and opponents are batting for a .206 average against him. He has issued 42 walks on the year and hit a league-high 16 batters.

Large is an off-speed pitcher who has to locate his fastball well to be effective. "That's who he is. What's that term - he's effectively wild? Well, he was ineffectively wild last week," Wells said.

Large could pitch on Sunday if it becomes necessary.


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