Tyler Johnson cometh
The flame-throwing closer was cleared to return to action on Tuesday, head coach Chad Holbrook said. The junior righty confirmed his return on Twitter after Saturday’s 6-1 win over Vanderbilt.
He’s the first of three Gamecocks to get fully healthy with the bulk of SEC play remaining. Outfielder TJ Hopkins has been battling a quad inury all season and catcher Chris Cullen has a knee injury.
“We’ll get Tyler back this week, and next weekend he’ll be full-go ready to go,” Holbrook said. “Hopefully TJ’s hammy and Chris’s knee will get better and we’ll be 100 percent for the first time all year come this weekend.”
Johnson has missed the last 20 games with a sore arm.
“I’m not docking anybody on this team, but when Tyler comes on the mound, it’s different when he runs out there. We’re very excited. I’m just hoping and praying everything comes back good and he comes back just like he was. I’m very excited.”
The feeling when you get cleared. 😆 See you Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/r3DDV5hqmv
— Tyler Johnson (@TyJohnson_21) April 8, 2017
Clarke Schmidt is likely heading back to his typical opening-night starter position after this weekend.
After being scratched from his start three weekends ago, he was put back into the rotation against Alabama, pitching on a Sunday and pitched game two on Saturday against Auburn last weekend. Schmidt was the Friday-night starter in game two against Vandy this weekend.
With the added day of rest coming, Schmidt will likely be back to the Friday night position against Mississippi State, barring anything unforeseen. Crowe, who pitched Thursday, will get almost a week and a half off and moves back to Saturday.
Adam Hill will likely take the series finale role on Sundays.
“I don’t know the exact plan, but if everyone bounces back, that’s the plan,” Schmidt said after his start Friday. “We’ll see what the head guy calls. We just go out there and pitch every day. I think that was the initial plan but we’ll see how everyone bounces back.”