Update on Nathan Kirby: UVA pitcher gets medical clearance, still ‘doubtful’ this weekend

nathan kirbyUVA baseball coach Brian O’Connor told reporters Thursday on the eve of Game 1 of the Cavs’ Super Regional series with Maryland that ace lefty Nathan Kirby has been medically cleared to pitch, but O’Connor says it is still doubtful that he will use Kirby this weekend.

“It takes a certain amount of buildup for a player ultimately to have success,” O’Connor said. “You don’t just all the sudden shut it down, not pitch, play catch for four and a half weeks or so, and all the sudden flip it on and say, OK, the guy’s got full medical clearance, now he can go out and throw at 100 percent and face batters. I mean, the guy hasn’t faced batters in seven weeks.

“You’ve got to do what’s right by this group of players and what is right by the young man,” O’Connor said.

Kirby (5-2, 2.28 ERA in 10 starts in 2015) has been out since suffering a strained lat muscle in his April 17 start against Miami. The timetable for his return at that time was projected to be six to eight weeks.

This weekend marks the seven-week mark since Kirby went down with the injury, but as O’Connor noted, Kirby has only done light throwing up to this point in his rehab process.

“There’s a difference between throwing in the bullpen, throwing on the side, throwing on flat ground, and getting in there when everything is on the line and letting it rip, throwing the breaking ball, things like that. We just haven’t simulated that. The guy hasn’t pitched in seven weeks. So I would say it’s pretty doubtful,” O’Connor said.

– Story by Chris Graham

 
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