Projecting the trajectory of the USF baseball season remains a tricky proposition in early January, but we can offer one prediction as an air-tight lock.
Senior Levi Borders will receive the heartiest ovation when he makes his first home plate appearance.
A unanimous first-team All-American Athletic Conference catcher in 2015, Borders — sidelined nearly two full years by various physical ailments — is back on the active roster. First-year coach Billy Mohl confirmed Borders is on pace to return to action.
Borders, who started all 61 games at catcher (throwing out 26 runners) and hit .291 in '15, made 16 starts the following year before being sidelined with a bacterial infection. He took a medical redshirt last season, and re-joins the team as its oldest player (25).
His role for 2018, or how effective he'll be in it, remains uncertain.
Borders had limited action in fall workouts, and the Bulls return junior Tyler Dietrich, who made 39 starts at catcher last season. The Bulls do have a designated-hitter job vacated by Borders' younger brother, Luke, who hit .338 with a team-best 53 RBIs last year.
We expect to have a more extensive talk with Mohl about Borders' 2018 outlook as early as Friday. Stay tuned.