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Bracewell scratched for SEC opening weekend start; RHP Cox to start tonight


Ben Bracewell will likely not pitch this weekend due to elbow soreness.

Ben Bracewell will likely not pitch this weekend due to elbow soreness. Photo by: Courtesy of MSU athletics


Will Cox


Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE -- Redshirt sophomore Ben Bracewell is not likely to pitch this weekend according to Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen.  


Bracewell, who started opening night of the 2012 season, is being scratched from his Friday night start due to elbow soreness in his pitching arm. 


Cohen said he is undecided which pitcher will get the start on Friday night when No. 21 MSU (14-4) opens up Southeastern Conference play at No. 13 LSU in Baton Rouge, La. 


Bracewell told The Dispatch Wednesday afternoon he has been doing long toss from 90 and 180 feet in the outfield with very little soreness in his pitching arm during the the following days. The right-hander had MRI scan show no structural damage to his right elbow. The issue with Bracewell is the pain he continues to have in his arm days after his outings on the mound.  


"I really think it was an overcompensation deal where I hadn't been out there in forever and just overthrew eveything," Bracewell said last week.  


After returning from Tommy John surgery this season, Bracewell has failed to surrender an earned run in 10 1/3 innings on the mound but felt severe discomfort after his March 3 start against the University of Connecticut.  


Bracewell told The Dispatch Wednesday afternoon he felt like he was "ready to go" but hadn't had the conversation with the coaching staff about a plan of action.  


"We want Ben to feel that way and we love the fact that he wants to pitch," Cohen said. "We're just going to be extra careful with him and that's means making it unlikely he'll pitch this weekend." 


Bracewell's injury is not likely to mean junior right-hander Chris Stratton will get his first start on the mound this weekend. The MSU coaching staff and Stratton himself both are satisfied with having the Tupelo native be the first option out of the bullpen on Friday night's going forward this season. While a starter for tonight was not announced, meetings at Dudy Noble Field did take place this week to find a starter for Stratton to pair with while Bracewell gets his arm loose in another throwing program. 


"We're simply going to have to pitch it better than anybody we face," Cohen said. "We'll have to pitch and get some guys to defend." 


Cohen confirmed Will Cox (1-0, 4.15) will get his fourth career start of his college career at Southeastern Louisiana University (6 p.m.) as the Bulldogs try to salvage a game in this two-game road series before MSU travels to Alex Box Stadium for a three-game tilt at LSU to open up league play.  


Cox has given up three runs in each of his last two starts under 50 pitches against Lipscomb and Penn State after tossing seven shutout innings. The Amory native has 12 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched this season. 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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