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Tony Vitello Updates Health Of Pair Of Vols

Tennessee is looking to bounce back from its second loss of the season when they host No. 24 Alabama for a three-game series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium this season.

The Vols — who have been behind the eight-ball from a health standpoint all season — could be the healthiest they’ve been all season when the Crimson Tide roll into town.

Right-handed pitchers Blade Tidwell and Seth Halvorsen were sidelined with arm injuries before the season began. Tidwell — a Freshman All American in 2021 — made his season debut just over two weeks ago and is working back into the fold.

Halvorsen — Missouri’s Friday night ace in 2021 — had his recovery delayed due to having his wisdom teeth removed. However, the senior is knocking on the door of being available for Tennessee.

“Just playing catch,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said of Halvorsen Thursday. “I think this weekend before you go into Friday’s game, you have to declare who the active guys are and who is not. There will be no trickery with Alabama. He is either going to be on there or he will not be. This would be the first weekend where it’s a possibility. I know he is antsy and is as frustrated as anybody. Our doctors have been really good about consistently giving him checkups to see how that fracture has healed up. I am anxious to see him out there, but no one is more anxious to pitch than that kid. Hopefully, things go quicker than slower for him. We also don’t want to do anything crazy to jeopardize a future that I think certainly involves pro ball.”

Tidwell was on the Vols’ active roster at Ole Miss but didn’t make his season debut until the following midweek matchup against Western Carolina.

While Halvorsen’s status for the weekend is still uncertain, Tennessee utility man Jared Dickey is expected to be at full strength this weekend.

“Jared hadn’t caught or played defense because of the injury for quite some time,” Vitello said. “This will be the first weekend where he’s really available to play defense. Conversation between he and I earlier in that day (Tuesday) was ‘hey, if we need you in a pinch to catch, can you?'”

Dickey was limited to hitting only after suffering a bone bruise in his right foot in the series final at Ole Miss two weeks ago.

The redshirt-freshman pinch hit once in Tennessee’s series at Vanderbilt before earning a pair of starts as the designated hitter against Missouri. Dickey returned to the field for the first time in Tuesday’s loss against Tennessee Tech. The lefty pinch hit in the eighth inning before staying in the game to catch the ninth inning.

Tennessee and Alabama open the weekend of action at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

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