Baseball notes: Working on comeback

AUBURN - Junior left-handed pitcher Will Kendall's status for the coming season remains undecided, Auburn baseball coach John Pawlowski says.

Will Kendall's status for the coming season is uncertain

Kendall was having a spectacular sophomore season with a 4.0 record and 1.81 ERA when he suffered an arm injury against Alabama and underwent Tommy John surgery.

"We are going to evaluate him and make a decision probably in the next week," Pawlowski said. "He hasn't thrown any breaking balls yet. It's just a matter of whether we believe he's going to get to where he can help us at any point this season."

NCAA roster rules make the decision more difficult. A 35-man roster must be submitted the day before the season opener. Once it is submitted, there can be no additions over the course of the season. Non-roster players can do rehab work but can't practice with the team. Pawlowski said Auburn has 40 players vying for those 35 spots.

Left-hander Danel Koger right-hander Rocky McCord, both sophomores, will go into the season in the weekend starting rotation on the mound, Pawlowski said. The third spot is still up for grabs.

Koger led Auburn in stars with 15 as a freshman and went 4-5 with a 3.19 ERA. McCord, as a freshman, had just 10 appearances, going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA. McCord had a strong summer in the Perfect Game League in New York.

Right-hander Terrance Dedrick and left-hander Conner Kendrick, both junior college transfers, are the leading candidates to close games for the Tigers. Sophomore Justin Camp is also in the mix.

"Both of those guys have out pitches," Pawlowski said. "A lefty and a righty is a combination we haven't had. That's something we've worked hard on, trying to build that depth."

First baseman Garrett Cooper hit .324 last season, but he wants to see more balls going over the fence. He says worked hard on that in the offseason.

"I've put on 15-20 pounds these past six or seven months," Cooper said. "I feel I can drive more balls. That's what our team needs, a 3-4 hitter to drive the ball in the gaps and hit home runs."

Centerfielder Ryan Tella could be playing for money now after being chosen in the 11th round by the San Francisco Giants. But he says the decision to return was easy because he had unfinished business at Auburn.

"It really wasn't that hard, especially because we returned 65-70 percent of our lineup," Tella said. "I came back to win."

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