In addition to dropping the season series to Alabama for the second-consecutive season, Ole Miss may be without closer Jake Morgan for an extended period of time.
After throwing a strike to Alabama first baseman Austen Smith in the ninth inning, Morgan was met on the mound by coach Mike Bianco, catcher Miles Hamblin and assistant athletic trainer Tony Barnett. After a brief discussion Morgan was pulled in favor of Eric Callender and headed to the clubhouse.
Following the game, Morgan stood at the back of the team’s meeting in left field with his jersey unbuttoned and immediately headed for the clubhouse, instead of mingling with fans and signing autographs, which is customary.
According to Bianco, Morgan first felt discomfort in what Dr. Henry L. Sherman, Ole Miss’ associate professor for sports medicine and non-surgical orthopedics, called his Acromioclavicular (AC) joint five pitches before being tended to by Barnett.
“He started to feel some pain but it was bearable. The tough guy that he is, he’s out there competing and of course we don’t know anything about it and then he throws a pitch and I wasn’t sure if he stumbled or twisted his ankle,” Bianco said. “I wasn’t sure what happened. We go out there and he had a shooting pain in his shoulder that ran up his neck so they’re going to try and get him in for an MRI today.
“Hopefully we’ll get some results (Mondy).”
Morgan pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out another batter.
Should Morgan miss an extended amount of time Ole Miss could go back to Brett Huber as the full-time closer.
While Morgan recovered from season-ending Tommy John surgery last year, Huber filled in seamlessly and recorded 12 saves, the second highest single-season total in program history.
He was also named a freshman All-American for his efforts.
However, Huber has gotten off to a slow start this season, walking 12 batters in 11.1 innings despite a 3.18 ERA and a .205 opponents batting average. He’s also 1-0 with two saves in eight appearances.
UPDATE: At 11 a.m. Bianco released the following statement regarding the status of Morgan:
“The MRI came back clean, but what the x-rays found was some AC joint irritation. Jake will receive treatment with an anti-inflammatory and will take today off. He’ll come back tomorrow and play catch a little bit. He will be day-to-day after that.”