The Tennessee baseball team has received some unfortunate just over three weeks until the start of the season. According to multiple reports on Thursday, Tennessee sophomore pitcher Blade Tidwell is expected to miss a significant portion of the season with a shoulder injury.
However, according to a report from WATE, Tidwell will not require surgery in order to address the injury.
A Tennessee spokesperson also confirmed the news to Rocky Top Insider on Thursday, saying that Tennessee’s medical team and Tidwell are coming up with a rehab plan, but are not setting a timetable on his return.
Tidwell was a tremendous asset for the Tennessee baseball team in the 2021 season. As the Vols’ Sunday starter last season, Tidwell pitched the second-most innings on the team at 98.2, only behind former Tennessee starting pitcher Chad Dallas. Additionally, Tidwell ended the season with an ERA of 3.74 and a final record of 10-3.
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Heading into the Vols’ 2022 season, Tidwell was widely expected to be Tennessee’s lead-off Friday night pitcher. However, with the injury, the Vols aren’t just losing their top pitcher, but potentially their best overall player.
Tony Vitello’s Tennessee team is currently the No. 17 ranked preseason team in the country according to Baseball America’s Top 25. In addition, the Vols are at No. 19 in the D1 Baseball Preseason Top 25 rankings.
The news regarding Blade Tidwell isn’t Tennessee’s only injury on the week, either. Former Missouri transfer Seth Halvorsen, who came to Tennessee this past offseason, will also be missing a few months after it was announced that he sustained a recent elbow injury. Halvorsen was a standout pitcher for the Tigers in the 2021 season.
The Tennessee baseball team will take the field in Knoxville for their season opener on Feb. 18. The Vols will take on Georgia Southern in the Friday afternoon game at 4:30 p.m. ET.