USC baseball coach Ray Tanner still doesn’t know if center fielder Jackie Bradley will be able to play in Knoxville this weekend.
Bradley strained a muscle in his back while lifting weights Monday. His outlook for USC’s road series against Tennessee for games Thursday, Friday and Saturday remains up in the air. He visited the doctor Wednesday.
“Jackie didn’t feel a lot different today than he did (Tuesday), which was a little discouraging for me,” Tanner said Wednesday. “It’s probably just a day-to-day situation with him.”
But Tanner isn’t going to rush back the junior All-American, who’s hitting .299 with six homers and 23 RBIs, until he’s ready, even if he’s cleared by doctors.
The news sounded a little better for junior right fielder Adam Matthews, who hasn’t played since the Florida series because of a hamstring injury. With Bradley out, it would be important for Matthews, who’s hitting .295, to return. But Tanner isn’t going to push him too hard, either.
“Matthews looks really good in his rehab. That being said, he hasn’t played yet,” Tanner said. “I’ve watched him train and work in the outfield a little bit. It’s up to him at this point on how he feels. He shouldn’t be rushed. He shouldn’t play until he’s ready to play.”
The injury-plagued team also hopes to get left-handed pitchers Steven Neff and Tyler Webb back soon. Neff had become a weekend starter before he developed a sore bicep. After a bullpen session Tuesday, Neff told the coaches he felt much better and seemed optimistic that he could be available in a relief role this weekend.
Webb, whose injury is similar to Neff’s, is going to travel with the team and throw a bullpen Wednesday night in Knoxville: