Baseball hoping to get SS Mende healthy
Two days before USF opens its 2009 baseball season against Michigan, the Bulls are hoping that a key part of their young nucleus, freshman shortstop Sam Mende, is able to recover from a foot injury that has had him wearing a protective boot this week.
Mende, expected to be the team's everyday shortstop, was able to hit in USF's intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday afternoon, and remained optimistic about his ability to play in Friday's opener. If he can't go, the Bulls would shift sophomore third baseman Jonathan Koscso to short, with redshirt freshman Todd Brazeal likely to step in at third base. The Bulls will have another first-year starter in second baseman Peter Brotons, who signed with USF last year after playing at Daytona State College (formerly known as Daytona Beach Community College).
USF pitching coach Lazer Collazo has laid out his plans for an initial rotation, with sophomores Randy Fontanez and Derrick Stultz getting the Friday and Saturday nods and former closer Shawn Sanford earning the No. 3 starter's role. Sophomore Matt Stull and junior lefty Teddy Kaufman are next in line as starters, with junior Andrew Salgueiro ahead of sophomore Stephen Hunt for the closer's job. Junior Matt Quevedo, who was USF's No. 2 starter last season until being sidelined by an arm injury, will start the season in the bullpen, working in middle relief.
For more information on this weekend's Big East-Big Ten Challenge, check out the tournament's official site.