The senior infielder injured his left shoulder earlier this week while diving for a ball during batting practice and is scheduled to have an MRI next week.
Until then, Gatlin is instructed to keep his arm in a sling and won’t be able to participate in any baseball related activities.
With the departure of draft pick Alex Yarbrough, the Rebels were giving Gatlin, a team captain, time at second base. As a junior, Gatlin appeared in 28 games and hit .255 with a .397 on-base percentage.
In Gatlin’s place at second base will likely be junior college transfer Lance Wilson.
Through fall camp and early preseason practice, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said he likes what he has seen from Wilson but the transfer needs to even out his play.
“He’s done well. He just has to be a little more consistent on a day-to-day basis,” Bianco said prior to Friday’s scrimmage at Oxford-University Stadium. “There’s days you look at him and he’s been tremendous offensively and defensively and there’s been days where he hasn’t been as good. He’s super athletic and I think he’ll bring another dimension to the lineup because he’ll be one of the best base runners out there, one of the fastest guys out there but we’re just looking for him to be a little more consistent.
“He’s a terrific kid and has worked his tail off since he’s been here.”
Bianco said Wilson has the potential to bat in the first two spots in the order, but the right-handed infielder from Tuscaloosa, Ala., will likely start out in the lower half of the lineup.
“At this point in the second half of the lineup but he’s certainly a guy who can bat leadoff, bat two,” Bianco said. “He’s one of those guys who’s going to be able to handle a bat, bunt and hit and run and do those types of things.”
At Shelton State (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) Community College, Wilson hit .320 with 56 RBIs and 88 runs scored. Wilson also set the school record for career stolen bases with 60.
BACK IN ACTION: While Gatlin’s return is currently unknown, two other Rebels are making their way back from injuries. Senior outfielder Tanner Mathis (shin splints) and junior shortstop Austin Anderson (hamstring) are both working their way back onto the field.
Mathis has been plagued by an array of injuries since the summer and is most recently recovering from shin splints.
The senior played in the field and batted last weekend but did not run the bases. Prior to Friday’s scrimmage, Mathis said he felt better and was expected to participate fully this weekend.
“He’s feeling as good now as he has in a long time,” Bianco said.
Anderson, meanwhile, injured his hamstring last Friday running to first and has been held out of practice as a precaution. Since then, Anderson’s condition has steadily improved and he estimated he’s near 80 percent.
“It’s just tight” Anderson said. “There’s a knot there, but the more I stretch and keep doing rehab, it’s loosened up a lot.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, BASEBALL: The Southeastern Conference released its 2013 baseball television schedule with the Rebels appearing nine times:
—Saturday, March 23, 7:30 p.m., against Texas A&M (ESPNU)
—Saturday, March 30, noon, at Florida (CSS)
—Sunday, March 31, noon, at Florida (FSN-Florida)
—Sunday, April 14, 1 p.m., against Alabama (CSS)
—Sunday, April 21, 1 p.m., at Tennessee (ESPNU)
—Thursday, April 25, 6:30 p.m., against Kentucky (ESPNU)
—Saturday, April 27, 2:15 p.m., against Kentucky (FSN)
—Saturday, May 4, 2:15 p.m., at Auburn (FSN)
—Sunday, May 12, 1 p.m., against Mississippi State (CSS)
From the SEC’s release:
The Southeastern Conference has announced its 2013 SEC Baseball television schedule, the fourth under the league’s 15-year agreement with ESPN. The entire broadcast package will include over 70 contests. In addition, all games from the 2013 SEC Tournament will continue to be televised, with the championship game airing again nationally on ESPN2. The semifinals will also air nationally for the first time, which will be broadcast on ESPNEWS.
The package is derived from broadcasts on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, Fox Sports and CSS. In addition, WatchESPN/ESPN3 will also stream most contests live online.
“Both the success and popularity of baseball in our conference continue to grow,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “We are pleased to be able to offer an increased amount of television coverage of SEC Baseball to our teams and to our fans. This continues to move our baseball exposure to new levels and to a national audience.”
SEC schools maintain the rights to air additional games not included in the SEC package with various television outlets, including official SEC regional television outlets. More than 60 additional games will be broadcast via those means, bringing the total number of SEC baseball games broadcast in 2013 to over 130.
ESPNU’s Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week will begin Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. ET and run eight weeks through May 16. The first Thursday night game will feature SEC newcomer Texas A&M at South Carolina. The weekly telecast will feature a live 30-minute pregame show from ESPNU studios at 7 p.m. ET, focusing on baseball news and updates from around the league. ESPN networks will air 27 SEC baseball broadcasts this season, all of which will broadcast nationally.
All games on ESPN platforms will be broadcast in high definition.
A NEW COMMITMENT: According to RebelGrove.com‘s Chase Parham, Ole Miss recently picked up a verbal commitment for its 2015 signing class in the form of Trysten Barlow, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound LHP/1B from Dyer County (Tenn).
(February 1, 2013)