February 28, 2013
OXFORD, Miss. -- Chris Ellis may resume his Sunday spot in the rotation this week, though it would be a predetermined shorter-than-normal appearance.
The sophomore right-hander missed his most recent scheduled start due to an abdominal strain that has lingered for several weeks now. Ellis first injured the muscle two weeks prior to the season opener but started against TCU and went four innings while allowing two hits and one run.
During the latter part of that outing, he aggravated the abdominal and exited after 74 pitches. After wearing a support brace and resting last week, Ellis threw a flat ground session on Wednesday and is scheduled for a bullpen on Thursday.
Should that go well, the Birmingham, Ala., native will start the No. 8 Rebels’ (8-1) series finale against Florida International in Miami.
“He’ll probably only throw a couple innings to just work him back into it,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “It’s not necessarily pitch count, though that’s part of it. It’s so we don’t push him and go too far with the pulled ab.”
Sam Smith started in Ellis’ place against Rhode Island and took a no-decision, allowing five hits and three walks in 3.1 innings.
While Ellis is on the mend, Ole Miss is dealing with arm issues with two other pitchers.
Freshman Jacob Waguespack has been dealing with elbow tendonitis since January, and Ole Miss is shutting him down for two weeks before testing the ailment. Since that’s complete rest, even if the pain has stopped, it’ll take more time to have him ready for game participation.
Waguespack, who the Pirates took in the 37th round last summer, was rated the No. 426 prospect nationally out of Dutchtown (La.) High School by Perfect Game.
Sophomore right-hander Hawtin Buchanan is dealing with shoulder soreness and inflammation, according to Bianco, and won’t travel to FIU.
Buchanan has one appearance this season. He allowed two runs in an inning against UT-Martin on Feb. 20. He allowed two hits and two walks and had two strikeouts. As a freshman, the 6-foot-7 right-hander had a 3.98 ERA in 20.1 innings.
GATLIN GETTING BETTER: Senior captain John Gatlin continues to work his way back from a shoulder separation before the season.
Gatlin was the likely starter at second base but suffered a severe separation while diving during the first intrasquad of the semester. He fielded ground balls last week and swung a bat 100 percent for the first time this week.
“Gatlin has done well,” Bianco said. “He swung 100 percent, and he’s had some good days and bad days with how it’s felt. He’s starting to field balls, and I don’t think he’s that far away from possibly getting on the field.”
Gatlin hit .255 in 28 games last season but had a .397 on-base percentage.
Lance Wilson has started four games at second base, including all three opening weekend, and has made three errors in 14 chances. He has two hits in nine at-bats. Preston Overbey is errorless in four starts at second base and is 7-for-25 with two doubles offensively. Jake Overbey started at second base Wednesday and was 0-for-4 with a strikeout.