Reece Eddins pitched 2.1 innings of relief for the Nebraska baseball team against Kansas State on Tuesday night. He allowed one run on one hit and one walk, and struck out one.
“He was pitching well, great angle on his pitches,” Coach Darin Erstad said on Thursday.
But the junior right-hander “felt something towards the end of the outing,” said Erstad. And what he felt in his elbow will require Tommy John surgery to correct.
The technical name is ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction. Regardless of what it’s called, however, the result is the same; Eddins will miss the remainder of the season.
“I feel awful for him,” Erstad said.
Eddins, a mainstay in the bullpen, “really hadn’t gotten it rolling yet this year,” said Erstad. He was 1-1 with a 5.91 earned-run-average in seven appearances, in marked contrast to his sophomore season, when he was 4-3 with a 1.85 ERA and one save in 26 appearances.
“He’s got a lot of huge outs for us,” Erstad said.
Junior right-hander Jake Hohensee, the Huskers’ Friday starter this season, and sophomore left-hander Nate Fisher, who has pitched out of the bullpen, missed last season following Tommy John surgery. When such things occur, “just tell ‘em you love ‘em, (that) we’re here for them every step of the way,” said Erstad. “I’d like to think they know I have their back. But you just re-affirm that.”
Nebraska, which opens Big Ten play at Indiana this weekend, will adjust its bullpen some, according to Erstad. First baseman Ben Miller “will probably get on the mound a little bit more,” he said. “We’ll have to get creative and increase (Byron) Hood’s role a little bit and (Ethan) Frazier’s role a little bit.
“Yeah, would I like to have Reece out there? That’d be great. (But) you’re at this game’s mercy. When it tells you it’s going to do something, it does it. So I just feel terrible for him.”
The same could be said of junior right-hander Zack Engelken, who had surgery early in the year and still has yet to pitch. “He’s had a few setbacks,” Erstad said, and it’s unclear when he’ll return.
“They don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Erstad. “It’s very hard to see that. So you just keep encouraging them and understand that the day-to-day work they put in in the long run they’ll be OK, but in the short term, just give ‘em a hug. There’s no easy way to deal with it.”