Tanner: Bradley, Jr. 'unlikely' to return

After his Gamecocks took care of Liberty 9-6 Tuesday afternoon, South Carolina head baseball coach Ray Tanner delivered bad news that junior All-American center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. may not play baseball again for the Gameocks.

Bradley, Jr. injured the tendon in his left wrist Saturday at Mississippi State diving for a ball in centerfield. Bradley had an MRI done Monday morning with Dr. Jeffrey Guy, medical director for University of South Carolina Athletics.

The MRI confirmed the tendon injury, which was diagnosed in Starkville, Miss. by MSU orthopedists, and was scheduled to be seen by a hand specialist on Monday afternoon.

"Jackie, I think, may end up having to have surgery -- and I'm just speculating right now, just speculating -- but it may be going in that direction,"Tanner said. "There's some dialog going on right now about that, so it's unlikely that Jackie will be back."

Asked if surgery would mean Bradley, Jr. was definitely out for the season, Tanner said yes.

"And it's unlikely that he would be back without surgery," he added. "It's just a tendon issue that's going to take some time, so it's unlikely that he'll make a return."

Bradley, Jr. was projected to go in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft and despite a recent slump considered arguably the best center fielder in college baseball, due to his ability at the plate and natural ability fielding his position.

Tanner doesn't believe that the injury will affect the draft-eligible junior's draft status. It's long seemed to be a forgone conclusion that this would be Bradley, Jr.'s last season at Carolina before the injury.

The news was more promising for Tanner's other two outfielders who are missing time.

Sophomore Evan Marzilli, who missed Sunday's game against Mississippi State and the Liberty game, has a medical condition, that HIPAA precludes the release of any additional information.

"There's a couple of scenarios that Evan may be activated this week," Tanner said. "That doesn't mean that he will play throughout, but we're trying to get him activated this weekend. Whether we will or not, we're not sure yet."

Junior Adam Matthews re-injured his hamstring two weekends ago against Vanderbilt and has been out ever since. Shortly after, Tanner said that he could miss the rest of the season but things seem more positive at this point.

"Matthews had a good day today," Tanner said. "Now he's still a ways away, but I think he was probably more encouraged today than he has been."

The Gamecocks now turn their attention to a three-game SEC series against Auburn this weekend at Carolina Stadium. Tanner says that's all his team can concentrate right now.

"We can't get into the big figure," Tanner said. "We've got to figure out what to do against Auburn on Friday and how we're going to approach (pitcher Derek) Varnadore -- if he's going to be the guy out there -- and [figure out] our best line-up, and see how many guys are going to be healthy, and see where we are. Just try to keep it in the moment as much as we can and battle and fight and scratch and claw and try to get in position to win a game."

They'll likely have to do that without Bradley, Jr. in the line-up.

"Well, it's hard, and I feel for him more than anything," Tanner said. "I know he'd like to play I know he'd like to be a part of this thing. He's had a few injuries here and there and tried to get through it, just fought through it. I know that he does not won't it to end this way.

"But that's just the way it is. I'd love to see him back out there again but it just appears right now that it might not happen."

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