BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU redshirt junior Bryce Jordan hasn’t swung a bat against an opposing pitcher since June 2016. While that may sound like a long time, it’s nothing compared to the last time he started a game behind home plate.
Jordan will be LSU baseball’s starting catcher in the season opener Friday against Notre Dame — the first time he has been assigned the task since the 2014 Louisiana high school state championship game. Jordan is a fill-in for expected starter Hunter Feduccia, who remains shelved indefinitely with a broken bone in his left hand.
Primarily a designated hitter in his first two years at LSU, Jordan can vividly remember the last time he led a meeting on the mound. It was with Barbe (La.) High School teammate Adam Goree, who currently pitches at McNeese State.
“It was the first inning,” Jordan said. “The bases were loaded and we had walked a run in. I went out there with coach and talked to him and he sailed from there. I haven’t been on a mound visit in an actual game since then.”
It was an effective chat. Barbe went on to win that game, 7-1. And whatever moxie Jordan displayed back then hasn’t grown rusty in four years.
“What I see a catcher as is a team leader,” Jordan said. “Getting out there, blocking every ball for the pitcher. Ultimately at the end of the day you’ve got to get the job done. Throwing out runners, receiving, blocking. Doing all nine yards for nine innings straight.”
LSU coach Paul Mainieri’s trust level in Jordan clearly is high.
“I wouldn’t put Bryce Jordan back there if I didn’t think he could do an excellent job and that we would win games with him as our catcher,” Mainieri said.
At first, Jordan had some trepidation about the move. He missed all of last season with a torn ACL in his right knee. The demands of catching are not a warm-and-fuzzy welcome for a player returning from a major knee injury.
“I don’t know how it is for other ACL people, but it was always tight with fluid in it. It was tight to bend it,” Jordan said. “When coaches asked me to do catching drills, I didn’t know if I could. But it actually feels pretty good. It doesn’t even hurt at all. I was surprised.”
That said, the Tigers are going to take every precaution with Jordan, whose bat they will need in May and June. Mainieri said he will avoid using Jordan in consecutive games, which is why Nick Coomes will start Saturday.
Jordan plans to jump into an ice bath immediately after every game.
“I’m definitely going to take care of my knees and try to catch as much as I can pain-free,” he said.
Notre Dame figures to be the first of many early-season opponents that will test the arm of LSU’s temporary new catcher.
He’s not afraid.
“I assume they would [try to run on me],” Jordan said. “But I feel I’m prepared to be out there and hopefully make them change their minds. I definitely think they’re going to test me. I just have to give it a go.”
The post Bryce Jordan is back for LSU baseball — just not where he expected appeared first on SEC Country.
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