With so many positions having uncertainty within the LSU pitching staff heading into the 2013 season, the last thing the Tigers needed was an injury to one of the leading competitors for several roles. A week into official practices, the Tigers have just that.
Junior Nick Rumbelow suffered a strained oblique during his first outing of a spring scrimmage a week ago. In terms of when Rumbelow will return, Paul Mainieri explained there is some uncertainty because of the nature of the injury.
"Well, an oblique injury is so hard to predict," said Mainieri. "The only thing I am relatively certain of is that he won't be available for the first several weeks of the season. That is just a bad injury because you can think you're over it when you really aren't. All that does is put you behind schedule on your recovery."
Regardless of how many games Rumbelow will miss, Mainieri still plans to take his time with allowing the right-hander back on the mound. Mainieri also understands how valuable a guy like Rumbelow is to the staff, so he would rather have him later than not at all.
"We are going to be very conservative with him because of where we are in the year," said Mainieri. "We are going to make sure that it is healed properly before he goes back out there. We want him to able for the rest of the season once he does come back healthy."
With the season so close, it is always hard to see a significant contributor on a team go down with an injury. Coach Mainieri explained that it not only takes Rumbelow out of the running for several roles, but it also affects the entire pitching staff.
"If he can't play, then he can't have a role," said Mainieri. "We are going to have to move forward without him, at least for a little while. We have to figure out who is going to be our third starter and who will pitch after him. We also have to find a closer and this injury changes everything."
Mainieri explained that finding someone to replace a productive pitcher like Rumbelow would not be an easy task. Rumbelow finished 2012 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 appearances.
"We are going to have to find the right people for the roles that he was competing for so that we can compete the first weekend and win," said Mainieri. "Once he is healthy, and he is pitching the way he can, I know Nick will be a dominant pitcher. He will be put into some significant role on the team once he comes back."
While he was expected to be counted on significantly this season, Mainieri explained that he really hasn't had a chance to see what Rumbelow can do at this point in the spring.
Mainieri and the rest of the LSU staff took the appropriate steps to prevent an injury to Rumbelow during the fall, only to see him get injured very early in his first outing of the spring.
"He had such a great year last year and a great summer," said Mainieri. "We were worried about him being over-worked this year, so we shut him down in the fall."
"The injury occurred during the first inning of his first outing this spring. With that being said, we haven't really gotten a good look at what he will be able to do for us because we have only seen him one time."
Mainieri talks Rumbelow injury
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