McNeese game pushed up; Reynolds to start

LSU BASEBALL NOTEBOOK: LSU pushes up first pitch against McNeese State to 4 p.m.; Russell Reynolds will start, but LSU could use as many as 11 pitchers; Greg Deichmann returns to practice for first time since preseason

LSU has pushed up first pitch for Wednesday’s game against McNeese State to 4 p.m. because of weather.

The game was originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m., but the threat of rain forced the change. That’s the fourth game this season that has been moved as a result of the weather. The Tigers have played two weekend doubleheaders and a midweek game on Thursday as a result of that.

But Paul Mainieri wants to get this one in on Wednesday with LSU’s first SEC series looming this weekend.

“It seems like we’re moving around the games all the time,” Mainieri said. “I hate doing that to our fans, but I also hate having to sit through rain or have a game canceled. I knew we’d be dealing with this all week, and I really want to get the game in.”

As of Tuesday evening, the forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of rain at 4 p.m., with about a 70-80 percent chance the rest of the night. Mainieri knows it’s a possibility that Mother Nature may win out, but he’s optimistic they can squeeze it in.

If not though, that would mean five straight days without getting on the field.

“When you haven’t played for so long, it just feels awkward to be out there,” Mainieri said. “Baseball’s the kind of game you have to play a lot to keep your instincts, especially at this time of the year.”

REYNOLDS TO START


If LSU does get to play Wednesday, Russell Reynolds will start on the mound.

That would be his first start since 2013 as a true freshman. He was emerging as a legitimate midweek starter before a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder sidelined him through the 2014 season.

He pitched in seven games with four starts in 2013 for 19 total innings. He had a 1.89 ERA with eighth strikeouts and opponents had a .176 batting average against him.

He’s been limited to a bullpen role this season. He’s made four appearances and has allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched. His last outing was his roughest, surrendering four runs in 2/3 inning against Princeton.

“Russell’s been a guy that we’ve been longing to get back in the mix,” Mainieri said. “Two of his last three times, he’s thrown exceptionally well…Maybe next week, he’ll be able to start again, but we’ll see how it goes.”

Reynolds won’t last long though. Mainieri expects him to throw two innings max because he wants to get as many as 11 pitchers in the game. LSU only needed four different relievers to get through the three games last weekend, so most of the bullpen could afford some time on the mound.

“It’s just important that all the guys that didn’t pitch this weekend get back on the mound,” Mainieri said. “It’s even important for all the guys that did pitch, even if it’s just to face a batter or two to stay sharp.”

DEICHMANN RETURNS TO PRACTICE


Greg Deichmann entered his freshman year as one of the most heralded recruits in his class. But he’s had to wait to make his debut while recovering from a stress fracture in his foot.

But Deichmann’s return could come soon. He returned to practice Tuesday for the first time after having the boot removed from his foot Monday. He was only limited to hitting, and Mainieri said it will be a “gradual progression” for him.

“It was the greatest feeling in the world,” Deichmann said of taking off that boot. “I hated lugging that thing around…Believe it or not, it feels good just being back in a practice jersey.”

Deichmann said one of the first things he did after removing the boot was to take some swings in the batting cages. He also did some light jogging on a treadmill Tuesday before practice and said it feels good.

He’s optimistic that by next week he’ll be able to take some reps in the field. Mainieri doesn’t yet know how he’ll fit in though. Deichmann played shortstop in high school and could be LSU’s third baseman of the future. He was mostly working at second base though before his injury.

He’s hopeful that he could make his college debut against Arkansas the weekend after this one upcoming. If not, he has the Tulane game on March 24 circled as a possibility.

He’s just ready to get back on the field, regardless of when it happens.

“Whether I was injured or not, I probably wouldn’t be starting,” Deichmann said. “But sitting on the sideline, it gave me an appreciation for what I’m a part of. Getting back out here with the team though will be fun.”


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