Clemson catcher Chris Williams will miss four to six weeks after suffering an injury to his left hand.
The junior suffered the injury in an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday and coach Monte Lee said he hopes to have Williams back by the start of ACC play in March.
“It just happened out of nowhere,” Williams said. “I took kind of an awkward swing and felt a little pop in my hand. I didn’t think anything of it at first. I went out to catch the next inning and caught a few balls and noticed a little pain.”
Clemson will kick off the 2017 season on Friday against Wright State at 4 p.m.
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It puts the Tigers, who are already replacing Chris Okey, in a tough spot. Williams hit .245 with eight home runs and 38 RBIs while scoring 34 runs as infielder in 2016, and was transitioning to a position he hadn’t played since junior college.
Junior Robert Jolly, who hit .217 in 92 at-bats as a designated hitter last year, and freshman Kyle Wilkie will fill in for Williams for at least the next month.
“This is like the starting quarterback all of a sudden getting hurt and you’ve got to put the next guy in,” Lee said. “This is a big position. This is a tough position. We’re going to be patient with these two young men and try to put them in the best position to be successful.”
The replacements will get to work with an experienced weekend rotation, which Lee announced Tuesday.
Junior Charlie Barnes will start on Friday, with converted reliever and senior Pat Krall will taking the mound on Saturday at 2 p.m., and redshirt sophomore Alex Eubanks will get the start in Sunday’s 1 p.m. series finale.