Ray Tanner apologized to a standing-room crowd at the Columbia Rotary Club on Monday about not wearing socks.
But the USC baseball coach’s knee was stiff after minor knee surgery last Tuesday. He hurt the knee after years of throwing batting practice.
“I was able to get some pants on,” he told club members.
Tanner said he thought the outpatient surgery would not be a big deal. After he was released from the hospital, he thought he could go to work until his wife told him that he asked for a six-pack while in recovery at the hospital. Tanner doesn’t drink.
A couple of days later, staff ace Michael Roth thanked Tanner for calling him Tuesday evening. The coach balked, and Roth joked with Tanner that he must not have remembered the call.
“At least I said something nice,” he said.
Tanner has been off crutches since Saturday.
“Hopefully in another few days, I’m back on the mound again,” he said.
Batter up for Koumas
Pitcher Forrest Koumas broke into the weekend rotation this season as a freshman — and now he might find a way to the plate. The Elgin native could DH or pinch hit some next year, Tanner said. “I don’t expect him to play a position,” Tanner said. “He’s a little too valuable to us on the mound.”
The new composition of aluminum bats cost 25 feet from batted balls this season and reduced home runs, but Tanner said he does not expect any changes. If fans yearn for a little more scoring, the NCAA could tinker with something else. “If anything changes, they might change the baseball as we go forward,” he said.
Best series memory
Tanner said his most memorable play from the 2011 College World Series was catcher Robert Beary’s backhanded grab of Scott Wingo’s throw against Florida. “You can’t do that. It’s a catchers mitt,” he said. “If you practiced that right now 15 times, you might catch it one or two. He just caught it on the biggest stage of his life.” Then he teased, “I would like to say that was coaching.”
Clemson-USC could face off in Charleston
The USC-Clemson rivalry likely is headed to Charleston next year.
The teams have a verbal agreement to play a neutral site game at Charleston’s Riley Park next spring, Clemson athletics director Terry Don Phillips confirmed.
247Sports.com reported the deal is expected to be for two years, 2012 and 2013. The neutral site game is set to be played March 2 at the home of the Charleston Riverdogs. The game will be the first of a three-game, three-day series with the next two games being played in Columbia and Clemson.
For the past two years, the Tigers and Gamecocks have played a three-game series in March, with a game at each home field and one neutral site game in Greenville.
USC was 2-0 in the games played at Greenville’s Fluor Field.
- Travis Sawchik, The Post & Courier