May 27, 2013 7:23:41 PM
STARKVILLE - The one question surrounding the Mississippi State University baseball program is the health status of junior center fielder C.T. Bradford.
Bradford, missed the final three games of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala., due to a severe quad injury. The former Mr. Baseball in the state of Florida out of high school had started the first 57 games of the season before being held out of the lineup during MSU's 5-3 victory over the University of South Carolina Wednesday.
MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson described Bradford's injury as a "hip flexor" Friday on the Head-to-Head show, the state-wide sports radio program.
Bradford, who is currently hitting .300 with five extra-base hits, suffered the injury after the final regular season series against South Carolina and played through the pain Tuesday night in the Bulldogs' 17-inning victory over the University of Missouri. Bradford finished Tuesday 0 for 6 with two sacrifice bunts.
Bradford has been receiving rehabilitation treatments since returning to campus following MSU's loss against No. 1 Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament semifinal game Saturday. Cohen said Monday they'll monitor Bradford's lower body injury, which he said last week was similar to the injury Bulldogs first baseman Wes Rea suffered through in the first month of the season.
"If it means him not practicing as much this week to get him in the lineup, that's what we are going to do," Cohen said. "He's a really important piece to what we do."
In Bradford's absence, junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe moved to center field Wednesday and Thursday with Cohen using a combination of Demarcus Henderson, Derrick Armstrong and Jacob Robson.
"Before I arrived on campus, I had played center field my whole life when I wasn't pitching or catching," Renfroe said. "It's not a big deal to me but I really think C.T. will be back by Friday and just needed a couple days to rest and not further aggravate his injury."
Bradford was out for the 2012 Tallahassee Regional after suffering a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder and then reaggrivating the injury once he returned late in the 2012 season. Bradford, the 2011 Atlanta Regional most valuable player, hit .375 while drawing starts in all six of MSU's postseason games that led to a Super Regional appearance. If he's active for this weekend, Bradford will accomplish a feat his father Mike (a MSU player from 1982-83) never did - play in a NCAA Regional at Dudy Noble Field.
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.
1. Be intentional with holiday food choices ENTERTAINMENT
2. Photos: Autumn Sunrise COMMUNITY
3. What the Fossils Show Us BOOK REVIEWS
5. Columbus library announces Festival of Trees ENTERTAINMENT