The Oregon State baseball team will be without Nick Madrigal for at least this weekend, coach Pat Casey confirmed Tuesday.
Madrigal, the 2017 Pac-12 player and defensive player of the year, injured his left wrist while sliding home during last Friday’s 10-8 comeback victory over Ohio State in Arizona. Madrigal sat out the next two games for the second-ranked Beavers (8-0), who open a four-game home series with Hartford at 4:05 p.m. Friday.
Casey did not elaborate on Madrigal’s injury prior to Tuesday’s practice at Goss Stadium but did confirm that the star infielder won’t play this week. Casey said an update will be provided by the end of the week.
Madrigal, who owns a team-leading .560 batting average, was not available for interviews.
According to D1Baseball.com’s Kendall Rogers, Madrigal has a broken wrist and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.
“Obviously prayers are going out to him,” sophomore Adley Rutschman said. “He’s such a great guy and even when he was down as we saw him there, he never let that show. He remained the same leader, even when he was hurt. I am just happy that we have a lot of other mature guys on our team that are able to kind of fill that role.”
Rutschman was also involved in a freak collision last weekend.
Midway through Saturday’s 10-3 rout of Nebraska, he jumped to receive a high throw at first base from Andy Armstrong and was accidentally kneed in the left shin area by baserunner Mojo Hagge. Rutschman limped off the field and was pinch-hit for by Ryan Ober.
Rutschman suffered a bruise between the tibia and fibula and sat out Sunday’s finale in Arizona. He expects to be back in the lineup Friday.
“I don’t really know how to describe (the bruise), but the bottom line is we’re going to be fine and I am good-to-go,” Rutschman said. “I completely expect to be out there with the guys and I would be very disappointed if I wasn’t.”
Immediately following the collision, Rutschman had flashbacks to his senior year at Sherwood High when he suffered a broken fibula during football season in the same leg. The fears were quickly vanquished.
“It was just kind of an interesting and funky ordeal,” Rutschman said of the play at first.
Rutschman has also been experiencing soreness in his right shoulder and back. He started just once at catcher — Rutschman’s primary position a season ago — during opening weekend but did catch the first two games last week.
The soreness hasn’t impacted Rutschman at the plate. In 23 at-bats, he is hitting .435 with eight RBIs and a .565 slugging percentage.
“I’m feeling really good and I am really happy with the progress that we’ve made,” Rutschman said. “Our trainers have done a phenomenal job helping me out. It’s been a difficult process that we’ve gone through, but it’s been nice to have that support and the confidence in that.”
Luke Heimlich, Bryce Fehmel, Grant Gambrell and Sam Tweedt were OSU’s four starting pitchers in Arizona.
Casey said Heimlich (2-0, 2.19 ERA), Gambrell (1-0, 1.80) and Fehmel (2-0, 2.05) will remain in the rotation this weekend but the fourth spot is up for grabs. Tweedt (0-0, 6.48) and freshman Kevin Abel (1-0, 3.18) are two of the candidates to start.
“We will kind of leave that up to (pitching coach Nate Yeskie),” Casey said. “We have talked about moving guys around.”
Freshman Christian Chamberlain and junior Jordan Britton have also thrown well in extended innings. Neither pitcher has surrendered an earned run this season.
Larnach stays hot
After opening the season with home runs in three consecutive games, Trevor Larnach stayed hot last weekend in Arizona.
Larnach belted another homer — his team-leading fourth — and is batting .556 with 14 RBIs, 10 walks and a 1.111 slugging percentage.
“We knew that he had made great strides in the fall and continues to work on it,” Casey said. “Every year he’s made a jump and he was obviously in a zone.
“He was selective, he got pitches he wanted to handle … overall it was really, really good to start the season.”
The Beavers own a team batting average of .365, the third-highest mark in Division I.
Friday’s home opener against Hartford will begin at 4:05 p.m. in an attempt to avoid freezing conditions.
First pitch was originally scheduled for 5:35 p.m.
Saturday’s doubleheader will start at 1:05 p.m. while Sunday’s finale is set for 12:05 p.m.