Button's back feeling better this fall

Evan Button's back. And his back appears to be OK. The Rebel junior shortstop, returning for his fourth season, said he's not quite 100 percent but almost.

"I'm really a lot better than I expected," said Button, who missed virtually all of last season with a back injury. "I expected my back to be giving me some trouble. But honestly it's about 90 to 95 percent, which is a lot better than I expected. That's real exciting for me."

The Rebels are now through three weekends of seven in fall ball. This year's session is at Oxford High School due to construction at Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.

Button missed 52 of the Rebels' 65 games last spring. He was suffering from a stress fracture in his L5, he said, which is the lowest disc in his back. He didn't do much, couldn't do much, for a few months.

"It caused me to not be able to do a lot of things – swing, run, twist," he said. "Rest was the No. 1 thing I had to do to get over it. I had to do a lot of extra abs to strengthen and counter my back. This summer not playing and taking time off was what got me to this point. I feel good now."

He's played extensively at shortstop this fall. There's a lot of infield competition, and Button feels he is making a push to be the guy at short.

"Up and down the lineup, guys like (Zach) Miller, (Tim) Ferguson, (Kevin) Mort, (Logan) Williams, the Snyder boys (Matt and Mike) are looking good. It's not only exciting for me. I'm sure the coaches are pretty pumped about that also."

Button says the Rebels are making strides in several areas already.

"We've been doing really well defensively," he said. "That's where it has to start, because hitting will always come around. That's been exciting for me to come out here, knowing we're all making plays. It's fun to watch and be a part of. There are a lot of different guys who are capable of getting the job done out here.

"Coach Bianco said it pretty well the other day," Button continued. "He said we've been doing everything good, not one thing great. We've played good defense. We hit well. We pitch well. Seems like everything is going pretty well so far. We're just moving along."

Button is happy to be moving along. This spring and summer that was not necessarily the case. It's all about his health at this point, he said.

"My main concern is staying healthy," said the 6-foot, 197-pounder. "I'm not going to just run out there and take BP. I'm going to stretch for about 30 minutes. That's my main concern, just staying healthy. I know I can play."

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