Too close for comfort

CLEMSON - Matthew Crownover spent a couple of days wondering if he would have to make another trip down the road that he's already traversed.

It was just 14 months ago that Crownover underwent Tommy John surgery to the elbow that's attached to his prized left arm.

While he didn't fear the worst, Crownover couldn't help but wonder what would come of the forearm tightness he experienced while pitching against Florida State less than two weeks ago.

"Anytime you have surgery and you feel a little tenderness down there, you kind of get worried, but I thought I was fine," Crownover said. "I talked to the doctors…you've got trust the guys that have degrees in those fields, so I felt fine about it."

He added, "I would say it was scary the first two days. I was kind of concerned until I started feeling a little bit better."

By the time ACC Tournament play rolled around, Crownover felt comfortable enough to pitch. But there was no need to rush back with the NCAA Tournament still on the horizon.

"Knowing I could have pitched, it was just good to rest it up and get ready to go," he said. "I think we made a good decision."

The freshman lefty leads all Clemson hurlers with a 7-2 record and 2.05 ERA. He's worked 66 innings over 14 appearances [13 starts].

Crownover, who was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday afternoon, could be available for the opening round of NCAA Tournament play.

Jack Leggett said Crownover will be evaluated after Monday's practice.

"We just hope he feels good, feels healthy and there's no soreness, and he takes another jump from the other day when he threw," Leggett said. "We're just looking for him to progress…he's got another few days to get things worked out. Hopefully, he'll be available.

"It hurt us last weekend without him being available, so we need to have him back."

Crownover did some long tossing from a flat surface on Sunday.

"He just tried to test it out," Leggett said. "It felt pretty good."

Ranked by Perfect Game as the nation's No. 62 high school player in the class of 2012, Crownover looks forward to his first appearance in NCAA postseason play.

"The way I approach it, it's just another game. It's easy to say that, but you go out there and try to do too much, it's going to backfire," Crownover said. "You've done something and had a great year so far, there is no reason to do anything different than you've been doing each time out."

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