Auburn opened baseball practices on Friday and Coach Butch Thompson said it was a good first day for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers hit the practice field on Friday for the first day of the spring under second-year Coach Butch Thompson and it gave him a chance to see pitchers Keegan Thompson and Casey Mize in action along with relievers such as Cole Lipscomb, Daniel Sprinkle and others.
Pitching well as he continues to return from Tommy John surgery, Thompson struck out five in just two innings while allowing one hit. At the plate senior Daniel Robert had a big hit that drove in a pair of runs while junior college transfer outfielder Jonah Todd also had a hit.
On a very cool day at Plainsman Park, Butch Thompson said he saw some good things from his team as they begin the three-week task of getting ready for the season.
"We were excited to get out here," he said. "Mother Nature turned it cool for the first time. We got Keegan on the mound and Mize to start us off. We had some good at-bats. Daniel Robert had the bat of the night where he just worked, worked, worked and we had a two-out RBI with runners at second and third. We moved around and did some things.
"The pace as got to pick up. I think we all know that. The players, we got four good innings in, got BP. Good first day and we just got a good injury report getting out of the first day. We've just got to keep moving forward. This is our first of three days and we've got to play our way back into place a little bit and probably pick up the tempo a little bit."
One of the biggest question marks for the Tigers is behind the plate where senior Blake Logan
is still recovering after a lengthy stay in the hospital with a fever. Without him on the field Friday the job went to junior college transfer Mike Rojas
and senior utility-man Damon Haecker
. Butch Thompson said both did some good things and they'll be counted on to do more until Logan is ready to get back to work.
“I just think it’s going to take some time," he said of Logan's return. "Our medical staff knew he had a fever for a long period of time and he’s walking and hitting but we’re slowly reintroducing him back into stuff. I just want to sure. It’s a long haul. I just want to make sure he’s 100 percent before he gets back out there every day. I just know the last four days we’ve increased the stuff he’s doing. We just want to have him out there when the season starts with no delays. I think we’re taking a cautious approach.
"Mike Rojas did really well today. Damon Haecker is back there doing some stuff for us and I want Blake back there when he’s ready. He lost some steam, lost some weight, probably 10 pounds of muscle and I just before he’s out there before he’s ready I just want him put back together. Our medical staff wants him put back together before we ask him to compete.”
Butch Thompson discusses the first day, his starting pitching and more in this video.