Moran Cleared to Play

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Preseason All-America third baseman Colin Moran has been cleared to play after missing 21 games with a broken hand, according to UNC head coach Mike Fox.

"He has been officially cleared as of today at 1:30 p.m. by the doctors, so he's full speed ahead," Fox said on his live radio show on Monday night. "He can do pretty much anything he wants to."

The sophomore suffered a fracture of the fourth and fifth metacarpals in his right hand during North Carolina's 3-1 loss to N.C. State on Mar. 24. Dr. Don Bynum performed the surgery on Moran's hand on Mar. 27.

Moran was given permission to hit off a tee on Apr. 19. The Rye, N.Y. native took batting practice on Sunday against simulated pitching, which accounted for the first live arms he had seen since suffering his injury.

"We're getting a competitor," Fox said of Moran's return. "We're getting our best hitter, hands down. Just the presence in the middle of that order – I'm going to plug him right back in the three-hole. We're not going to mess around. We're going to put him back in there and he's going to have to deal with the live pitching stuff.

"It's going to be a big boost to our team and I hope it rejuvenates our whole team offensively."

Moran leads the Tar Heels with a .389 average on the year with seven doubles, two home runs and a team-best 24 RBI in 22 games played.

Fox told his listeners that Moran will start at third base on Wednesday night against Winthrop. Freshman Michael Russell will remain at shortstop, while freshman Mike Zolk and junior Tommy Coyle will compete for the second base position.

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