Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

RHP AJ Russell Is Inactive For Tennessee Baseball During Knoxville Regional

Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee right-handed pitcher AJ Russell is not active for this weekend’s Knoxville Regional, head coach Tony Vitello confirmed following the Vols’ 9-3 victory over Northern Kentucky on Friday night.

“No, he is not active,” Vitello said postgame. “Probably will get looked at again. We haven’t fast-forwarded there but just based on playing catch there is no need to battle the soreness factor. That is step one and step two would be make sure he is good to go and should be throwing at all.”

Vitello wouldn’t go as far as saying that they would shut Russell down for the rest of the season, just that they were going to reevaluate things after the right-handed pitcher is looked at again.

Russell missed nearly two months with forearm soreness before returning to the mound in a pair of one inning outings at the SEC Tournament last week. The sophomore pitcher worked around a pair of baserunners to post a scoreless inning against Vanderbilt before allowing a solo home run in an inning against LSU.

While the results were solid, Russell’s velocity was way down. After throwing in the upper 90s earlier this season, Russell’s fastball was 91-93 mph in Hoover.

More From RTI: Tennessee Baseball Knocks Off Northern Kentucky To Open Up NCAA Tournament

“What he did for us on Sunday was great,” Vitello said. “I think it was obvious with his couple outings he did give us that he hadn’t really been what his best version of himself is since Texas Tech (season opener).”

Russell suffered side soreness in his second start of the season against Albany before returning for two weeks early in SEC play before the forearm issue reared its ugly head. The right-handed pitcher’s status has been a cloud looming over the team all season due to his extreme talent.

“If anything, I think it alleviates the cloud − for these guys, too, and not just him but also us − (of) what is, what isn’t,” Vitello said. At least we are on one side of the fence or the other.  Everyone knows we would rather be fully on the other.”

In Russell’s absence, Tennessee’s pitching staff has stepped up in a major way. Russell’s injury seemed like a near death sentence for the Vols when it happened but a number of players— most notably AJ Causey and Aaron Combs— have stepped up in a big way in his absence.

They’ll look to keep doing so as Tennessee resumes Knoxville Regional play on Saturday night when they face Indiana at 6 p.m. ET at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us