Injury Leaves UCLA Thin At Catcher

No. 10 UCLA sustained a blow Monday, when it learned catcher Darrell Miller Jr. will need surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The redshirt junior, who was projected to start behind the plate for the Bruins, will be out for the season.

Miller Jr., the son of the former big leaguer and nephew of NBA star Reggie Miller, hit .257/.324/.351 with two home runs in 55 games last season. The Phillies drafted him in the 34th round in 2012, but injuries limited him in the first two years of his college career. A broken hamate bone and a previous labrum injury largely sidelined him until last season.

Miller Jr.’s latest injury leaves UCLA short at catcher. Freshman Michael Benson, who ranked No. 488 on the BA 500 last year, was expected to compete for time behind the plate this season, but he transferred to Palomar JC.

The Bruins are now left with freshman Jake Hirabayashi, a converted infielder, redshirt junior Keenan Pierandozzi-Howes and redshirt sophomore Daniel Rosica as the only catchers on their roster. None have appeared in even a single college game.

Hirabayashi was expected to be a utility infielder and backup catcher this year, but may now be forced into everyday duty behind the plate.

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