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Tony Vitello Updates Jared Dickey’s Status

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

During Tennessee baseball’s 10-0 loss to Kentucky in the three-game series finale on Mother’s Day Sunday, the Vols were without their best hitter in SEC play, Jared Dickey.

The redshirt sophomore injured his right shoulder sliding home during the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday afternoon. Dickey was writhing in pain on the turf after his slide, and he walked into the dugout favoring his shoulder after getting checked on by trainer Jeff Wood.

Dickey, however, did come back into the game to play defense in the eighth inning, but Kavares Tears pinch hit for him in the bottom of the eighth.

Fast forward to Sunday, Dickey was not in the starting lineup for Tennessee and did not play in the Vols’ loss.

More From RTI: What Tony Vitello Said After Tennessee Dropped Series Finale Against Kentucky

After the game, head coach Tony Vitello updated the status of Tennessee’s star utility man.

“Some soreness in there,” Vitello said on Dickey’s shoulder. “Just kind of confirmed [what we thought]. Definitely real sore. More sore today than he was yesterday.”

Vitello also noted that Tennessee is in no rush to get Dickey back on the field, as they will only do so when the time is right.

“That’s not a rush effort by us by any means. I’d like to see him out there playing as much as you all would and the fans, and of course, as eager as he is to get back out there. But we won’t rush it. The soreness needs to go away and then make sure he’s got range of motion and make sure it’s the best situation for him to get out there.”

Dickey has far and away been Tennessee’s best bat in SEC play. The Mount Juliet, Tennessee, native is hitting .377, has recorded 40 hits, six home runs, 23 RBI drawn 10 walks and has reached 62 total bases with a .442 on-base percentage.

More specifically, Dickey has been the catalyst that has brought Tennessee’s offense back to life in the past month. Dickey is currently on a 14-game hitting streak and a 15-game hitting streak in SEC play.

While Dickey will be missed in the short term for the Vols, Vitello noted that having power-hitting lefty Kavares Tears back is a positive.

“In the meantime, it’s nice to have KT (Kavares Tears) back, so you kind of make an unwanted trade there, if you know what I mean,” Vitello said. “It’s good that Dylan [Dreiling] and KT are able to get in the lineup and get at-bats. And then Griffin [Merritt] is always itching to get out there defensively, too, so we’ll manage it as we see fit as we head into Tuesday.”

As Vitello mentioned, Dickey’s absence means more at-bats for Tears and Dreiling. Playing time has been hard to come by for the freshmen with the outfield rotation set and Griffin Merritt seeing the majority of starts at DH.

The Vols have four regular season games left, as Tennessee will host Belmont on Tuesday for the regular season home finale before heading to South Carolina for the final series of the regular season.

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