Louisiana State coach Paul Mainieri told Baseball America today that ace righthander Anthony Ranaudo will not pitch this weekend against Arkansas, but the Tigers hope he could return in time for the Tennessee series next weekend. Ranaudo, a first-team preseason All-American and the top-rated college pitcher for the 2010 draft entering the spring, has missed the last three weeks with a stress reaction in his right elbow.
"Yesterday was the first positive day that we've had," Mainieri said. "He played catch for the first time without pain, so that was a very positive thing. We'll just have to play it by ear and see how his body feels. It's a weird thing—it doesn't hurt him to throw; it was hurting when he takes the ball out of his glove and takes his hand back, the cocking motion. It has nothing to do with ligaments, it's just what they call a stress reaction on the bone, and it could develop into a stress fracture if you don't let it dissipate. I didn't want him to throw a ball until he was 100 percent asymptomatic."
Mainieri was on his way to watch Ranaudo throw again this afternoon, and if he reports no pain after this session, the Tigers will cautiously move forward with his throwing program.
"Your Friday night guy's really important, but you can't force things you can't force," Mainieri said. "My loyalty is to the kid. He's done so much for our program, that it just would be very unfair of me to try to push him before he's ready."
We'll have more on the Tigers and their upcoming showdown against Arkansas in Thursday's Weekend Preview.
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