Butch Thompson Talks Pitchers

Mississippi State assistant baseball coach Butch Thompson talks about the four pitchers who are returning from surgeries.

MSU fans really didn't get to see Michael Dixon pitch during the season last year due to Tommy John surgery. How has he recovered from his surgery? I had him at 88-90 on my Stalker gun during the scrimmage he pitched in a few days ago. Another pitcher who had Tommy John surgery while in junior college is transfer Tim Statz. He also looked good in his outing.
"I tip my hat to both of those guys. They missed 16 to 18 months after going through their surgery. If you humanize it and think about how much work went into what they had to do every day while not being out there pitching, then they go out there and pitch an inning last week, that's a big moment for them. Neither one of them gave up a run but bigger than that was the fact that they were able to go out there and compete."

Statz was pretty impressive, striking out the side in his first outing.
"He sure was. And he was very aggressive. The way he works and the way he carries himself, I see some confidence in him. We saw some glimpses of some things we hope Tim can do for us."

Ben Bracewell, who is also recovering from arm surgery, also threw an inning. Did it surprise you how well he threw in his one inning of work?
"It did. But he admitted with the last hitter he was a little fatigued. We are going to throw him again. And each time it will be about how well his arm bounces back than how he looked that day."

How well did he bounce back after that initial outing?
"He threw today. And it was at the point where I want him to go again Wednesday." (The Wednesday scrimmage was canceled due to bad weather.-Gene)

You haven't made a final decision whether he will pitch this season, have you?
"No, we haven't. Everybody in the nation is having to make those kind of decisions during the last couple of weeks (leading up to the season). His parents, Ben, Coach Cohen, we all will have to sit down a week from today and decide what is best for Ben and Mississippi State. He is going to get to throw Wednesday and maybe Sunday. That will help us make an informed decision."

Nick Routt, another pitcher coming back from surgery, hasn't thrown yet. Where does he stand in his rehab?
"He threw a bullpen Saturday and another one today (Tuesday). We are back up to the 30 to 35 pitches with him again. Everything looked good to me. I'm going to check to see how he feels. I'm really hoping we can get him on the mound this weekend in our intersquad. That would tell us a lot about him. But he's had a lot of good health going into January. He did have a little setback in the second week of January that caused us to pause, then we picked back up."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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