USC baseball coach Ray Tanner confirmed after Tuesday’s victory over Liberty that All-American junior center fielder Jackie Bradley is not likely to play again for the Gamecocks this season.
Bradley suffered a tendon injury in his left wrist trying to make a diving catch against Mississippi State over the weekend that has USC medical personnel making a decision on the best way to treat him.
“He may end up having to have surgery. I’m just speculating right now,” Tanner said. “It may be going in that direction. There’s some dialogue going on right now about that. It’s unlikely Jackie will be back.”
Tanner also stated Bradley is not likely to be back whether he has surgery or not.
Tanner said if a decision to have surgery is made, it will happen quickly in order to begin an expected two-month healing process.
The injury may end a storybook career at USC for Bradley, the MVP in the College World Series last summer, when he led the program to its first national championship. Even though Bradley has struggled at the plate this season, he continued to provide stellar defense and solid leadership for a team that could be headed back to Omaha.
“It’s hard. I feel for him more than anything else. I know he’d like to play. I know he’d like to be a part of this thing,” Tanner said. “I’d love to see him back out there again, but it just appears right now that it might not happen.”
Tanner does not expect Bradley to return for his senior season. The Prince George, Va., native, who has hit .336 with 30 homers and 132 RBIs in three seasons, is projected to be a first-round selection in the Major League Baseball draft in June.
Besides an outstanding career for South Carolina, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Bradley has played well in the summer wood-bat Cape Cod League and for Team USA.
“I do not think it’s going to affect his draft status much at all,” Tanner said.
Tanner has higher hopes for the return of sophomore left fielder Evan Marzilli, who has missed the past two games with an undisclosed medical condition. He could be ready for the Auburn series.
“There are a couple of scenarios that Evan may be activated this weekend,” Tanner said. “That doesn’t mean he will play throughout. But we’re trying to get him activated this weekend. Whether we will or not, we’re not sure yet.”
Marzilli is hitting .257 with two homers and 17 RBIs.