Sunday, March 11, 2007

Playing with fire?

First-year LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri knows about building a baseball porgram. He knows about shepherding college-age pitchers through the maturation process.

Both of which make his decision to throw T.J. Forrest on Sunday a little strange. Forrest is less than 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery. He made his college debut Tuesday at Fair Grounds Field, starting and throwing 38 pitches in a win over Centenary. Five days later, Forrest threw 52 pitches in three innings of the Tigers' loss to Southern Miss.

Those pitch counts pale in comparison to the triple-digit totals some college pitchers throw, but given that Forrest's recent surgery they could be seen in a similar light.

Mainieri is an astute coach and seems to have his team's attention and respect. There is little doubt he knows how Forrest feels physically. But you have to wonder if it may not be risky to run him out there so quickly when it comes to the long-term picture.


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