Tide Soph Might Pitch with Pain

One of Alabama baseball's unsung heroes of the 2005 season has been recent Saturday starter Brandon Belcher. Belcher tore an oblique abdominal muscle earlier in the season, but had put his injuries behind him with two quality starts entering the series with Auburn.

But last Saturday against the Tigers a scary scene unfolded when the lefty cringed and began rubbing his throwing arm after a pitch in the sixth inning and left the game.

"When he had the pain, obviously you're thinking the worst," Alabama Head Coach Jim Wells said, fearing the sophomore might have torn a ligament in his pitching arm. "But they punched around there and found that the ligament was still there. They did the MRI and the ligament's in tact, but bone spurs have come back."

Belcher missed the fall after having surgery to remove bone spurs last off-season, but now they have returned.

"They will eventually have to come out again," Wells said. "Talking to the doctor, they said everybody who's pitched awhile has some sort of bone spurs, the thing is where are the bone spurs positioned and how much discomfort can he take. It's not like he's torn anything. Larry Byrd had them in his feet, he's got them in his elbow."

Wells said Belcher will be available to pitch in the SEC Tournament. "It's just a matter can he deal with the discomfort of it, but there's no ligament damage."

"He's a tougher kid than most and he deals with pain a little better than some guys," Wells added. "I don't know how much we can get out of him and it is day-to-day. But as Dan Patrick said, aren't we all day-to-day. He'll give us whatever he's got and you're hopeful, the doctors are saying he's okay and he should not miss a beat."

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