Aggie Baseball 2008: Final practice

Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp visits with Rob Childress following the team's final practice before Opening Day 2008 on Friday night at Olsen Field.

Wednesday was the last real practice for Rob Childress and his Texas A&M baseball team before the season opener against Northern Colorado on Friday night at Olsen Field and he feels good about where his team is at heading into the season.

"I feel very good about where we are on the mound, much better than I was two weeks ago, and positionally, I think we're ready to go on Friday," Childress said. "We're ready to put on the uniforms and play somebody else."

Wednesday's practice was cut short by heavy rains that forced the tarp onto the infield, but not before Childress was able to get in what he needed to in an extremely efficient practice.

"We finished up just in time," said Childress, who was particularly impressed by the improvement by his pitching staff. "Some pitchers who were doing just okay early in the season are really showing signs of life. Carson Middleton, a guy we recruited to be a key player for us looked really good today. He was throwing 88-92 with a very good slider, and threw a very clean inning. Evan Gerald has been up and down and he had a good outing today."

Kyle Thebeau and Travis Starling both pitched extremely well for an inning each as well.

Junior right-handed pitcher Jordan Chambless is coming back off of a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for most of last season and he had his first live action of the year on Tuesday.

"He threw live for the first time yesterday and was throwing 85-87," Childress said. "He's still a little protective of his shoulder on the breaking pitch so he's still a ways off, but he'll know and I'll know when he's ready to go. If it's two weeks from now or six weeks from now he needs to be 100% to get out on the mound and we'll make sure he is."


His elbow has not been 100% so we haven't seen the true Aaron Daab but he's still going out there and competing every time we give him the ball in the scrimmages, but right now I wouldn't say he's 100 percent.

The junior transfer from Winthrop is one of the biggest question marks coming into the season. He was All-Big South last year but is coming off of surgery himself, and Childress doesn't know when he'll be able to go this year, if at all.

"He threw a bullpen today and he's very good," Childress said. "It's still kind of a wait and see kind of thing but he's feeling good. His elbow is feeling good but he's still not spinning the breaking ball yet."

"Caleb Shofner comes and punches the time clock every day, and he swung the bat well and he made a nice defensive play in the first inning of the scrimmage (on Wednesday). He's just a baseball player and he's going to help us in some capacity this year and during his career at Texas A&M."

"He's been kind of up and down and he's still learning the game," Childress said. "Offensively, he's got a chance to help us off the bench when we need a ball in the gap or a homerun or need someone driven in. Defensively he's still got a ways to go and his arm still isn't 100% from the surgery he has last year."

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