“Based on what we saw yesterday and today, Nathan Kirby will not pitch this weekend,” O’Connor told reporters at the Diamond in Lake Elsinor, Calif., where the Cavs will open play in the 2015 NCAA Tournament on Friday against Southern Cal.
“I just can’t put him out on the mound unless I’ve seen it at 100 percent, and I haven’t seen that yet, so he will not pitch at all this weekend.”
Kirby (5-2, 2.28 ERA in 2015) is a projected first-round pick in next month’s MLB Draft. He has been out since suffering a strained lat muscle in his start against Miami on April 17.
Connor Jones (5-2, 3.05 ERA) will get the start for Virginia against USC on Friday. Brandon Waddell (3-5, 4.52) will start on Saturday.
“Connor’s been pitching our most consistent baseball for us as a starter,” O’Connor said. “And when we had a chance to look at the ballclub and see what kind of team they are, it was glaringly obvious that this was the right thing to do. And hopefully he gets us off to a good start tomorrow.”
Jones has put up impressive numbers since taking over as Virginia’s #1 starter in Kirby’s absence – with a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings, striking out 46 hitters, allowing 27 hits and walking 14.
The Cavs have gone 4-1 in Jones’ starts in that stretch.
O’Connor indicated to reporters that Josh Sborz (3-2, 2.17 ERA) will be available in relief on Friday and Saturday as needed, and if he isn’t used in either game, and the Cavs make it to Sunday, he would be available to get the start in a third regional game.
Otherwise, Adam Haseley (2-1, 2.66 ERA) would likely get the nod in a Sunday game.
– Story by Chris Graham