Tennessee outfielder Kavares Tears didn’t see action in the Vols’ weekend series loss at Georgia as he continues to work back from injury. However, the power hitting lefty was on Tennessee’s 27-man active roster at Georgia and was available to play.
Coach Tony Vitello and the Vols opted to play it safe with Tears last weekend but the redshirt freshman is poised to return to the lineup soon.
“KT was available this weekend,” Vitello said Sunday. “A little hesitant – it’s good that we bought him some more time, kind of like the other guys we mentioned (Burns). Maybe a situation or two we should have used him. Now, at least we know going forward, he’s at full strength despite the fact that we didn’t use him this weekend where we possibly could have.”
Tears has dealt with a handful of minor injuries this season. The corner outfielder and designated hitter missed limited time with a hamstring injury earlier in the season before suffering an oblique injury in the Vanderbilt series.
The Lewisburg native isn’t an everyday starter but it a consistent contributor as a designated hitter and pinch hitter. Tears hasn’t played since game two of the Vanderbilt series, missing the Vols last nine games.
Tears has started 13 games and played in 22 games this season where he’s hit .340 with two home runs, six doubles and 11 RBIs. Like most players, Tears production drops off in conference play. Playing in 11 games and earning eight starts, Tears is hitting .269 with a homer, two doubles and seven RBIs.
Tennessee returns to the field Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium against Austin Peay. The midweek bout is a strong opportunity for Tears to get back in the lineup before next weekend’s series against Kentucky.