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Diamond Notes: Hunter Renfroe not likely to miss significant time with fractured hand

 

FILE - Mississippi State eagerly awaiting the return of Hunter Renfroe (hand) and Wes Rea (quad) into the middle of the Bulldogs lineup

FILE - Mississippi State eagerly awaiting the return of Hunter Renfroe (hand) and Wes Rea (quad) into the middle of the Bulldogs lineup Photo by: MSU athletics

 

Matt Stevens

 

STARKVILLE - The x-ray results for Hunter Renfroe came back with good and bad news for the Mississippi State University baseball program.  

 

First the bad news detailed the junior outfielder does have what MSU coach John Cohen called "a very, very small fracture" in his throwing hand. Renfroe suffered the injury Saturday afternoon after being hit in the hand with a pitch early in a 8-2 victory over Samford University. Not only did Renfroe stay in the game in the later innings but also played the nightcap of the doubleheader against Purdue University.  

 

Renfroe, who leads No. 5 Mississippi State in home runs (two), RBIs (nine), extra base hits (five) and slugging percentage (.750), was held out of the lineup for the first time this season Sunday and was seen in the dugout with a protective wrap on his right hand.  

 

"He said he could've played and came up to me (Sunday morning and said 'Coach it's really sore but I can play today'," Cohen said after the 8-1 win over Samford Sunday. "We decided to not risk it and let Derrick (Armstrong) get his first career start out of the way." 

 

The good news is the details of Renfroe's injury leave the MSU team doctors and coaching staff to believe he may not miss a significant amount of time. According to texts from Cohen to The Dispatch, the fracture is located on one of the small bones on the opposite of the palm and therefore does not restrict him from gripping a bat or ball comfortably. Therefore, Renfroe could be fitted for a right hand/wrist support brace if he choose to play right away. It's also a slight enough fracture that it could certainly heal in the 18 days before MSU opens Southeastern Conference play against No. 9 Louisiana State University (6-1) on March 15 in Starkville.  

 

Renfroe got the hand x-rayed early Monday morning and Cohen told The Dispatch the MSU staff felt he would be able to possibly play this weekend as the Bulldogs (9-0) take on St. Joseph's University for four games starting Friday evening at Dudy Noble Field.  

 

Players were given the day off Monday as MSU prepares for two back-to-back games against the University of Rhode Island (0-6) starting at 4 p.m. today.  

 

"The concern about (Renfroe's injury) doesn't reach a high level until somebody on our medical staff comes to me and says we have a big problem here and that just hasn't happened yet," Cohen said Sunday.  

 

Renfroe is one of the MSU players where injuries have not been a concern over his three-year career as he started in 60 of 61 games last year. Renfroe even took over in center field when C.T. Bradford went to the disabled list on two separate occasions with a shoulder injury that eventually needed offseason surgery to correct.  

 

 

 

- Wes Rea, Renfroe's protection in the middle of MSU order this season, could return to the starting lineup as early as today from a quad injury suffered before the end of spring scrimmages. Rea has been used late in games as a defensive replacement in the later innings since suffering the injury but hasn't started in the last seven games.  

 

"Wes could be ready to play as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday," Cohen said Sunday. "Whether or not we decide to actually do that is still not something we've decided yet." 

 

Rea, who has suffered shoulder injuries each of his first two seasons on the MSU campus, was hoping to stay healthy enough to provide consistent middle of the order power with Renfroe, junior Daryl Norris and senior designated hitter Trey Porter.  

 

In his first swing of the 2013 season, Rea homered in the season opener in a 16-1 victory over University of Portland.  

 

"The question of offseason was offense and for us to be hot in game one is just something we hope will carry over into the rest of the season," Rea said on Feb. 15.  

 

In his absence, junior Alex Detz has gotten seven straight starts at first base - a position he played for the first time in his life three weeks ago during the final spring scrimmages. Detz, a California native, batted .324 with a .451 on-base percentage in 2012 for Cuesta (Calif.) College to earn a spot on a Division 1 roster. Since getting the start last Saturday, Detz is hitting .316 with 7 RBIs, two doubles, seven walks and hasn't recorded an error defensively.  

 

"I'm starting to feel pretty comfortable over there but I think (Wes) will get back pretty soon so that'll be good for everybody," Detz said. "I'll play wherever as long as I'm in the lineup." 

 

 

 

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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