June 19, 2013 5:07:43 PM
OMAHA, Neb. - The coaching staff of the Mississippi State University baseball program is trying to downplay the injury concerns of left handed pitcher Luis Pollorena.
The senior, who was drafted in the 23rd round by the Texas Rangers last week in the 2013 MLB Draft, hasn't seen action since a NCAA Regional start on June 1 against the University of South Alabama.
MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson confirmed after a Wednesday morning practice session at Creighton University that Pollorena (6-3, 4.32) is suffering from a severe strain "in the muscle on the lateral side of his pitching arm between the shoulder and the elbow".
"I would never throw Luis under the bus and pitch him if he didn't feel 100 percent," Thompson said. "Today was a much better day in terms of seeing his range of motion because we're going to need an athletic left hander for any of the two clubs we're going to see Friday whether it's Indiana or Oregon State."
While MSU (50-18) hasn't officially named a starter for Friday's game (2 p.m., ESPN), all signs point to Pollorena either getting the start or being one of the first arms out of the bullpen if the training staff agrees the 5-foot-9 southpaw is healthy enough to take the mound.
"I really think that there's nothing serious wrong with me because honestly I really believe I just slept on my side wrong and woke up more sore than I'd been in a while," Pollorena said. "My bullpen sessions have been great and like anybody else, I'm chomping at the bit to get on the mound in the College World Series. This is why I came to Mississippi State."
Pollorena, who hasn't earned a win since April 12 at Texas A&M University, has made 12 starts this season and eight of them have been in two relatively big ballparks (Dudy Noble Field and Trustmark Park in Pearl) that would translate to possible results for the Bulldogs fly ball pitcher. Pollorena has had solid pitching performances away from Starkville in a quality starts at both Vanderbilt University and the University of Mississippi.
"TD Ameritrade Park is where fly balls go to die as they say so yeah, I really think my style and how I go about getting hitters to make soft contact that our outfielders can run down really sets up nicely for me," Pollorena said.
The MSU coaching staff has been careful with Pollorena since he suffered the discomfort in his pitching arm and didn't use him in the sweep against the University Virginia in the NCAA Charlottesville Super Regional.
However, both Cohen and Thompson have said their plan all along throughout the postseason has been the only guaranteed starter on the mound has been senior right hander Kendall Graveman.
"(Luis) threw a little bit yesterday and I think he could be ready for the weekend," Cohen said. "It's kind of a real shame for him because he's been healthy all year. Knowing the heart of that kid, I wouldn't be shocked if he was available to us this weekend.
Pollorena is one of five pitchers on the MSU staff with double digit appearances that hasn't seen action yet in the 2013 College World Series joining Ben Bracewell, Will Cox, Myles Gentry and Jacob Lindgren with fresh arms presumably available for Friday afternoon.
"I think it's pretty clear our plan so far has been Kendall and then we'll go with the matchup every day," Thompson said. "There's not this three or four day gap coming after this weekend. You're right into it and that setup lends to you have to go deeper into your pitching staff. One of these guys that hasn't pitched in this tournament and hasn't been part of our regular rotation will determine if we win this whole thing. I just don't know who that person will be. You never do."
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