Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Some Furman tidbits (corrected)

I got a couple of the injuries reversed. Sorry.

* Neal Rodgers, a nose guard on Furman's football team, is trying out for the baseball squad. Rodgers has slimmed down from his 300-pound football weight. Rodgers, who has shown some power in batting practice, likely would be used as a designated hitter if he makes the squad.

* Meanwhile, Furman will be without pitchers Teddy Andrews and Greg Harrison this season Andrews, whose older brother Tom also played for the Paladins, is having Tommy John surgery. Harrison suffered a torn ACL. His older brother Brian played for Furman. Greg Harrison started his career at South Carolina, transferred to Spartanburg Methodist and then to Furman.

* Also, pitcher Steven Fondu is dealing with elbow issues.

* Also, the Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Recorder ran an update on Furman pitcher Elliott Warford in its online edition:

By Barbara Boxleitner

Special to The Recorder

Pitcher Elliott Warford had such an impressive freshman season that it he couldn’t stay a reliever.

The Ponte Vedra High School graduate was 6-0 with a 3.61 earned run average and team-high seven saves in 31 games for Furman University last year. The 6-foot-1 righthanded closer was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team by Collegiate Baseball and to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team. “Coach gave me a pretty good role,” Warford said. “I was very appreciative of the opportunity.”

This season Warford will be in the starting rotation so that he can pitch more often. Head coach Ron Smith expects Warford to handle the increased workload without issue because of his efficiency: he throws strikes, locates pitches and gets ahead in the count.

“He had an outstanding year for us,” Smith said. “He’s a tremendous competitor with a mound presence that is well beyond his years.”

“His delivery is repeatable. It’s sound fundamentally,” the coach said. “He’s able to throw a lot of pitches. He uses his lower half effectively.”

Warford spent the off-season preparing for his move to starter. He pitched 52 innings last year but said starters typically throw 90 to 120 innings. “I have to work out smart and efficiently,” he said, noting that he has been focusing on his lower-body strength.
During the summer he pitched for the Laconia Muskrats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He was 1-1 with a 5.31 ERA in six games. He used the experience to build endurance and refine pitches.

Warford said he throws a two-seam fastball, slider, changeup and curveball. “In college you really have to have command of three pitches,” he said. “I really worked on developing a better changeup.”

He enters this season feeling fit and optimistic. “I’m definitely in the best shape,” Warford said. “We’re prime for a great season.”
And Smith said Warford has the makeup to be successful again. “He is a hard worker,” he said. “We could not have asked anything more from him.”

* The Paladins open their season Feb. 15 against Michigan State at Fluor Field in downtown Greenville.

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