Lindgren Back On Track For Friday Start

A bounce-back performance Tuesday did good things for Diamond Dog minds. Now as conference season looms there are a couple of bodies occupying the team's thoughts. As of Wednesday morning, reports were mixed on that front.

The positive news for Mississippi State today regards starting pitcher Jacob Lindgren. The sophomore lefthander was suddenly and shockingly knocked-out of last Friday's appearance against Central Arkansas, when the second Bear batter lined a shot off Lindgren's left knee. Fortunately for the pitcher and the program no damage was discovered in a couple of examinations.

Even better, Coach John Cohen is increasingly optimistic Lindgren can remain on his weekly schedule after passing some on-mound tests. "Jacob threw yesterday morning, long-tossed and a short bullpen," Cohen reported. Tuesday evening, following Mississippi State's 13-5 rout of Southern Mississippi in Pearl, the coach said a key was how Lindgren felt the next-day after tossing.

This morning, all seems fine. "We feel he'll be available for Friday night," Cohen said. "We'll check again tomorrow, but we're optimistic." That tomorrow-check is keeping Cohen and pitching Coach Butch Thompson from definitively saying who will toss when this weekend against Louisiana State.

"We'll put that to bed Thursday morning. For now probably it will be very similar to last weekend. We think Evan Mitchell will start Saturday, if Jacob can take the mound Friday. We have not finalized that." Righthander Evan Mitchell is essentially paired with lefthanded long-reliever Ross Mitchell for the middle of the series; and righthander Kendall Graveman would get the ball Sunday.

The less encouraging words are about first baseman Wes Rea, who has seen limited action since straining a quadriceps running out (successfully) a dropped strikeout the first week of the season. He did start a game the next weekend and was lifted after a couple of hits because in stretching a hit into a double he re-strained the muscle. Beyond a late-game turn as a defender or pinch-batter Rea has been sidelined.

The goal was to have the junior ready for SEC season. That seems doubtful at the moment. "Wes just can't run full speed right now," Cohen said. "We feel we can't play him. It's painful for him to run full-speed."

Rea's absence has been made easier to handle thanks to the hitting and fielding of juco first baseman Alex Detz. This doesn't mean the Bulldogs are happy having Big Wes on the bench and not holding down that corner or swinging in the middle of the order.

"We feel we're at our best when he's part of the lineup," Cohen said today, still holding out the possibility Rea can see action this weekend. "We'll play that day-by-day and see what happens."

The Bulldogs (18-2) will host the visiting Tigers on the usual SEC series days but with one adjusted time. Saturday's contest is 6:00 for telecast, while the first and third meetings are 6:30 Friday and 1:30 Sunday.

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