By: Terrill J. Weil
Da Boot Sports!
Paul Mainieri met with the media today to discuss the LSU Baseball Team 2021 team roster and about the unsure situation that awaits the 2021 NCAA baseball season.
The players have reported to campus and are attending meeting via Zoom as well as other preseason activities. Next week they will begin conditioning workouts, then individual practice will begin at the end of August. As of now, LSU has a full-squad Fall practice session scheduled to begin on September 20th through October 30th.
Due to the cancellation of the 2020 season, returning players listed as So., Jr., Jr.-RS or Sr. will have the possibility to exercise an extra year of eligibility in their careers.
No. 8 Matthew Beck and No. 32 Aaron George were seniors in 2020 who have graduated (Gr.), and they are exercising the option for the extra year in 2021 at LSU.
The only players who are not eligible to obtain the extra year are the incoming junior college transfers (Jr.-JC) and the incoming freshmen (Fr.).
LSU Coach Paul Mainieri Press Conference (via Zoom) – August 14, 2020
“It is definitely great to see everybody during what is the craziest time of my life. The new normal has taken a lot of getting used to. I am so excited for a new year, as I always am. This will be my 39th season in college baseball, but there are still so many question marks out there. It seems like every day you hear about conferences and schools that are cancelling sports in the fall, and here we are hopefully going to play a football season and hopefully we will be able to play baseball in the spring."
“We plan on playing baseball in the spring, and that all starts with us getting things going in
the fall. All of our plans are in place to do that and until somebody tells us we cannot do that, we are going to assume we will go on as normal as we can. However, there are a lot of adjustments to make sure that we are taking care of the players and keeping them as safe and healthy as possible. We are making adjustments as far as running practice. We now have a COVID-19 Policy Manual for baseball that we put together that is very similar to Major League Baseball’s. Which means no high- fives, no spitting, and keeping the gaiter around your neck before placing it over your mouth and nose when in close contact with other players."
“We are using two dugouts this fall for our intra-squad games as opposed to everybody
working out of one dugout. We will keep pitchers and other players who are not involved in the game spaced out in the stands so that they are not in contact with each other. Even the ways we have assigned lockers have changed. We used to have all the pitchers in the same area and the position players in the other half of the room. Now, we are alternating pitcher and position player so that we can send the pitchers home early from practice and then when the position players and the two pitchers that close out the scrimmage come in, they will be more spread out."
“We are doing everything we can think of to control the health of the players while they
are under our control. We also are trying to educate the players on what to do when they are away from the game."
“Outside of all that, it is business as usual in trying to develop a championship team. I think
we have the makings of a really good team. Last year, unfortunately, the season was cut short after 17 games. I would have loved to see all the young players that we had in the program get through a SEC schedule as that would have given them great experience.
“Several of our players went off and played in the summer leagues. (LSU hitting coach)
Eddie Smith deserves a lot of credit for that. He had the responsibility of placing kids this summer, and he was like Houdini. One league would cancel, and he would move them to another league. We ended up having several players play this summer and they all played extremely well. So, a lot of players were still able to gain some good experience this summer. All in all, I feel very excited about getting back to fall practice especially with having so many new players combined with the veterans we have.”
"This is a really great freshman class we're bringing in. Because it was a five round draft, we were able to hold on to some guys in previous years we would've lost to Major League Baseball. The headliner of the group coming in is Dylan Crews." Mainieri also said, "He could have a Daniel Cabrera type of impact. He looks like a Big Leaguer out there. He's got the talent, the work ethic. He's smart."
Mainieri would briefly touch on the pitching staff stating, "We virtually have our entire pitching staff back." ... Cole Henry is gone and most expect that Jaden Hill should be his replacement. The Tigers also have some talented newcomers arriving to beef up the staff. "I think our pitching staff has a chance to be one of the best pitching staffs we've ever had."
"February 19 is still pretty far off. We're talking about six months from now before college baseball starts. Hopefully there will be a lot of changes for the better in these next six months."
"I'm still very optimistic. Let's see how fall practice goes. If we get through fall practice,.. I'll feel a lot better about spring."
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