One More Time

Brett Huber has put a lot of time, energy, and effort into Ole Miss baseball the past several years. Now he's coming back for more.

Follow SpiritJeff on Twitter

Committed to the program since signing in 2007, the right-handed pitcher arrived in the fall of 2008, redshirted in the spring of 2009 when the Rebels hosted an NCAA Regional and Super Regional, and has pitched the past three seasons. Most of that has been in a closer role.

But before he will pitch next season, there's some cleaning up to do. In his arm, that is.

"At the beginning of the year I had some trouble going on. We got some X-rays and an MRI," Huber said. "I had some things going on in my elbow. I made it through most of the year. It started acting up on me about the Arkansas series (Grove Bowl weekend). That was pretty tough. It ended up not hurting and I got through the rest of the year."

There was another MRI this week, and in the next few days Huber will have it scoped. Cleaned up, if you will. He should be back sometime this fall, maybe not at the start of fall ball. But as long as he gets some time in during the fall session and is ready to go in the January preseason practices, that's fine with Huber.

"It'll be like three or four months," he said of getting it repaired and rehabbed. "I gotta do this so I can be ready to go next year."

Huber is already looking forward to next year. Last week during the draft, the Mariners contacted him to see if he would like to play for their organization now. He declined.

"I got a call from a team in the 25th or 26th round," said Huber, admitting it was Seattle. "But I couldn't pass up my senior year and being down at Ole Miss and in Oxford. So it's nice to stay."

Huber likes the team the Rebels will put on the field in 2013. He and another Rebel returnee, Tanner Mathis, recently talked about their reasons for returning and their anticipation for next season.

Huber is an emotional pitcher
Bruce Newman

"I talked to Tanner and we're really excited to be coming back," he said. "It's good to have him back. He's one of our best hitters. He's a great player that gives it all he has. We've got Bobby Wahl and Mike Mayers on the weekend. The young guys learned a lot this year and will be better. So I'm very excited."

Huber doesn't believe he will be a starter, however. It's something he's learned to live with and hopes to thrive in.

"For some reason, as much as I try to see it, I just can't see myself starting at the University of Mississippi," he said. "They like me a lot in the bullpen, and I'm OK with that. Whatever I've got to do for the team, I'll do."

Huber's had a career of ups and downs, but it's been mostly solid. He was named a Freshman All-America selection by Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, and the NCBWA after the 2010 season when he made 30 appearances and recorded 12 saves, one shy of Stephen Head's school season record in 2003.

He had four saves in 2011. This season he had 10 saves and is now tied with Head at 26 for the all-time saves record at Ole Miss. His last one came against Arkansas in a 2-0 win at the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

In four games at the College Station Regional, he made one appearance. That was for two late innings in relief of Mayers in the 6-3 win against Texas A&M in game two. But it was R.J. Hively who finished things up and got the save.

"I think I had a pretty successful year," said Huber, who pitched 25.1 innings this season with a 2.84 ERA in 20 appearances. "I got a lot of my velocity back and my slider was working again pretty well. When you're out there in the later innings, all you need to do is get outs to get the win (for the team). So I think I had a pretty successful year."

Now he goes about the task of getting his arm ready for next spring and what he hopes will be his best season yet. And also the team's.

"We made a good run in the Regional. TCU had to beat us twice and they did. That was pretty tough," he said. "Monday night after that (final) game, it was emotional, especially for some of the older guys who knew they were going to leave. I think there'll be better things for next year."

OM Spirit Top Stories