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On The Record: Andy Cannizaro

Andy Cannizaro was hired to replace Javi Sanchez.

Andy Cannizaro was hired to replace Javi Sanchez.

On The Record is an occasional Q&A blog post with an LSU sports figure.

LSU hired Andy Cannizaro a month ago to be its new recruiting coordinator and hitting coach. Read our full story on Cannizaro – his major league playing days, childhood life and recruiting network – in an upcoming edition of The Advocate.

Here’s our Q&A with him in which he talks leaving the Yankees, his philosophy on hitting and base-stealing and his network for recruiting:

Advocate: Why did you leave such a good job and organization – he was a scout for the Yankees – to come to LSU?

Cannizaro: This is kind of always what I wanted to do. You nailed it. I loved by job, loved working for the Yankees. I couldn’t have been in a better situation. Kind of always in the back of my mind knew this is what I always wanted to do. Wanted to get back on the field in a teaching capacity, being around young players.

It was definitely a tough decision because of where I was coming from. I had a job that I loved, had bosses that I loved and great working relationships with those guys. Twelve years as a player and scout in the organization, knew everybody from the top to the bottom. Just felt like this was the right time to do it and see how things go.

This is always what I wanted to do. Couldn’t pick a better place to go do it at. That was obviously a major part of it too. I like my job so much that I was looking to just go do this anywhere. It needed to be at one of the best places in the country. That’s what this is. That kind of had a lot to do with it.

Advocate: What’s your hitting philosophy?

Andy Cannizaro with his wife Allison and children Gabrielle (left) and Pierce.

Andy Cannizaro with his wife Allison and children Gabrielle (left) and Pierce.

Cannizaro: My hitting philosophy. I think young kids are better hitters when they simplify things. I think hitting’s hard enough to do. It’s the age-old taking a round bat and round ball and hitting it square. It’s really hard to hit.

One of the biggest things with my previous job that I’m going to take into this job is when I finished playing I’m never going to forget how hard it is to hit. Guys are throwing hard, breaking balls. Eight guys standing out there in front of you trying to field and get you out.

It’s hard to hit in BP, much less when you don’t know it’s coming. Pitchers are throwing whatever they want to in whatever count. One of things I wanted to take is never forget how hard it is to hit.

As far as approach, simplify it. Try to get the barrel of the baseball from point A to point B as quick as we can and with the shortest path as possible. Stay short to the baseball, use the whole field, eb able to teach guys and help guys learn what their roles and what their jobs are. I want to be able to give definitions and define guys roles. It’s not me defining those roles. It’s what type of player and hitter they are.

Guys like Mark Laird and Andrew Stevenson, they don’t need to hit flyballs 370 foot to the gap. Those are outs. Understand what makes them go. I think the quicker young players understand their role and game and what they need to do to maximize their ability to get the most out of their ability… that’s when they take off as players. It’s having guys that know what their role is on the team, buying in to commit to be the on-base guy who’s going to steal bases, going to score runs. It’s teaching (Chris) Chinea and (Kade) Scivicique and the middle of the order guys, ‘Hey you’re hitting in the middle of the order for a reason. You need to try to drive the baseball.’

There’s a time and place for trying to impact the ball and knowing what you’re trying to do. Scivicque’s role is different from Laird’s role. Laird’s role is different than Bregman’s role. Need each guy to know what they bring to the table. Play your game. Do your job.

If you understand what you’re job is and you can come to the park every day, knowing that if I do my job, I’m going to help my team win today, we’re going to win a lot of games. We’ll be standing at the end of the year on national TV on ESPN. That’s the goal here. It’s not to have a great regular season and win a lot of games. The goal’s to get to Omaha and win national championships. That’s the goal, that’s the flags you see in front of the stadium. It doesn’t have regional appearances on there. It’s got national championships.

To do that, we’ve got to have guys perform at their highest level all year long. Stevenson doesn’t need to hit eight home runs this year. What you need to do is have a high on-base percentage, wreak havoc and score runs, get bunts down. Mark Laird needs to do the same thing, and Alex Bregman is a different guy: Use the field, drive the baseball, drive runs in, get on base, steal bases. He’s got a really complete game.

I’m not looking for a guy like Alex Bregman to come in here and hit double home runs. No. Let’s drive the baseball, score runs, move runners. Define guys roles, stay short to the baseball, look for pitches you can hit and hit well, not just pitches you can get the bat on.

Advocate: You’ve been around a lot of guys and I’m sure you’ve dealt with it too: a slump. Bregman last year had a tough time with that. When a player falls into that, as a coach, what’s going to be your approach?

Cannizaro: I think one of the things you need to do with young hitters is continually tell those guys that they’re good players, that they’re good hitters. Trust their track record. Trust the fact, you’re always hit and you’re going to hit. This a tough game. You’re not going to hit five hits out of 10 at-bats all year long. But at the end of the year you look up and somebody hit .350, and when the season’s over you look back and say, ‘That guy had a great year.’ He’s only getting a hit 35 percent of the time. He’s failing a ton. Offensively, it’s a game of failure. Good hitters stay positive at the plate. Good hitters know they can hit. They never doubt their own ability. The game’s going to beat you up. My job as a hitting coach is to stay positive with those kids, and you get those guys back on track, doing the things they do well. Not pressing. Not trying to do too much.

Last year, Bregman struggled a little bit. There was no (Mason) Katz in the lineup, no (Raph) Rhymes in the lineup. All of a sudden, LSU shows up to the point every night and it’s, ‘We’re not going to let Alex Bregman beat us.’ He probably got pitched a little bit differently last year than he did as a freshman, surrounded by some bangers and some guys … huge track record of success in college baseball. As the year went on, like good hitters do, by the end of the year Alex Bregman was as good as anybody in the nation. That’ll be a learning experience for him last year. ‘Hey you’re not going to get 2-0, 3-1 fastballs down the middle of the plate with nobody on base, balls you can drive. You’re going to get pitched to, you’re going to get pitched around, and that’s part of the process with him becoming a complete player.’

He’s already a great player. Alex Bregman is a phenomenal player that plays hard every day. You can’t ask him to do anymore than he does every day. He plays hard. He’s a team leader. He wants to be the greatest shortstop in the history of college baseball. I love that. I love the fact that he’s got goals and has the drive to be great. He’s a young player that needs to continue to learn and build on the things that happened last year. Just continue to build on it and go forward and learn that when we get off the bus there’s a good chance that scouting report is going to say, ‘Don’t let Bregman beat you.’ There’s two years of track record on how to pitch him. It’s about pitch selection and strike zone discipline and getting into hitter’s counts, which he’s going to do. He’s going to have a tremendous year.

Advocate: Two years ago coach Mainieri rarely adjusted his batting order game to game. Last year, that wasn’t the case. The lineup shifted every game. How do the pieces go together this year?

Andy Cannizaro as a Tulane shortstop.

Andy Cannizaro as a Tulane shortstop.

Cannizaro: We’ve got some really good parts and pieces. We’ve got guys, multiple guys, who can do the same thing: create a lot of havoc in the lineup. You’ve got guys in the top and bottom of your order that can really run. You’ve got hitters in the middle like a guy like Bregman who uses the field, tough out, competitive out. You’ve got bangers in the middle of your lineup that are capable of leaving the yard at any point.

I think we’re going to have one of the most complete lineups, 1 to 9, in the country. We walk into the park, we get off the bus and show up …. I think we’ve got a chance to have, 1 to 9, as complete 1 to 9 where there’s nine tough outs where you never give that pitcher or the defense a chance to put their guard down. For nine batters, they’ve got to stay locked in and execute pitches to be able to get you out. We had guys, numerous guys, that had tremendous success this summer.

I think we’re going to have opportunities to have great at-bats, 1 through 9, put pressure on the defense, score a ton of runs and have a ton of fun offensively. There’s not any more fun when you’re playing this game and scoring runs, when everyone’s hitting and team confidence is at an all-time high.

Advocate: Coach Mainieri mentioned that he hired you to help LSU get better on the base paths, specifically in stealing bases. You were successful at that in college and professionally. How do you approach that part?

Cannizaro: I think one of the things I want to do with our runners is … making the art and craft of stealing bases fun. It really can be something that is contagious. The better we can do it, the more runs we’re going to score.

Whether people want to admit it or not, this is a statistical game. Every kid in America walks up to the plate and knows exactly what they’re hitting. Its plastered all over the scoreboard, stat sheets are everywhere. It’s a statistical game. We’ve got some great athletes here, some plus-runners on a pro scale. Seventy to 80 runners on a pro scale. We’ve got guys with good instincts. We’ve got some guys who can do better at stealing bases.

Guys get excited when they steal basis because it increases their stats. It’s a stats game, whether people want to admit it or not. As a team, we steal more bases, score more runs. As a hitter, I’d love to hit with you standing on second base than first base. One, there’s now a base open so they don’t necessarily want to keep putting guys on bases. All of the sudden, a base hit drives a run in. Now that guy that stole second’s like, ‘Perfect, I was 1 for 4 but I stole two bags today.’ It’s a statistical game where you can complete your resume, so to speak, with more stolen bases. Guys like Laird and Stevenson and Bregman and Kramer Robertson. We’ve got a roster full of guys, great athletes who can do more on the bases.

One, it will help them individually get where they want to go. Two, it will help us as a team score more runs. The ball’s not flying like it used to. If you have one guy in your lineup that hits double digit home run in college baseball, he’s a monster. If the ball’s not flying, we’ve got to find ways to do some things to score more runs.

Advocate: How does your network of scouts help you in recruiting?

Cannizaro: It’s a really big part of it. Like anywhere, when you do your job man, you want to do your job to the best of your ability. You want to be able to network and be friendly and build relationships. This is still a relationship world. If you can’t build relationships and meet people, it’s going to be really difficult to get where you want to go.

It’s the conversation of baseball. Everyone’s in the game and wants to talk the game. You build relationships with people and hopefully now in return, that I’m on this side of it, those friends of mine all over the country when they see players certainly I want those guys calling me before they call anyone else. That’s part of it. Not everybody can play here. We’re looking to get that impactful guy on the mound or that bat. We’re looking for the best players in the country. Hopefully that relationship with the guys I have in pro-ball can help us on the recruiting side.

On The Record: Alan Dunn (on his new pitchers)

Alan Dunn watches Jared Poche warm up. (Travis Spradling)

Alan Dunn watches Jared Poche warm up. (Travis Spradling)

LSU reeled in a 2014 signing class ranked No. 1 by many sites. The group includes seven pitchers.

Pitching coach Alan Dunn touches on each one of his new hurlers in this On The Record post.

  • LHP Jake Latz, Lemont, Illinois

Dunn: He’s won a state championship with (catcher signee) Mike Papierski. He’s been in some big games. He’s been in that pressure.

Wiry left-hander. I say wiry, meaning really physically strong. Three-pitch mix. Curveball is a really solid pitch for him. Velocity: He’s going to pitch anywhere from 89-92 right now.

The thing that’s really excited me is that he’s taken that next step this past year and was really throwing the ball in the strike zone, which is huge. I see his maturation process of learning about combining his stuff with pitchability makes him a very exciting arm.

  • Austin Bain, Geismar, La.

Dunn: Very athletic kid. Three pitches. He’s been up to 94 before. Very good breaking ball. Nice frame. Think he’s going to fill out. Add a little more to his body.

He’s kind of new to pitching. When I say new, hasn’t had a whole lot of innings under his belt because he’s been a two-way guy. He was a shortstop. That tells you athleticism. He is athletic. The more athletic the better pitcher. Just him getting more reps, getting out there, I’m excited to see his ceiling.

Q: He’ll be a pitcher?

Dunn: We recruited him to be a pitcher, but he also played shortstop and swung the bat pretty good. We’ll see how that plays out, but if we look at it down the road he’s a guy we want to get innings from.

LHP Mac Marshall, Lilburn, Ga.

Dunn: There’s been a lot said about Mac here these last weeks. Obviously, very talented left-handed arm. Three-pitch mix where he has a really good feel. Repeats his delivery well.

Mac Marshall is the headliner to the 2014 signing class. (gwinnettdailypost.com)

Mac Marshall is the headliner to the 2014 signing class. (gwinnettdailypost.com)

Here’s a guy that’s stuff has been upper-type stuff in terms of velocity. I think this year his velo (velocity) was down a little bit of what it had been in the past. He had an injury, an appendix, that kind of put him back a little bit in high school this year in terms of regrouping his stuff. But I saw him in the summer last year and it was pretty electric coming out of there. Guy has pitched in big games. Had a lot thrust upon him. Expectations in high school. Met them head on.

Q: Is he someone you can immediately throw in the weekend rotation?

Dunn: I’m not going to say that. It’s like we tell all of our guys: When we go into fall practice, we have mapped out innings and opportunities and guys will tell you where they’re going to pitch based on how they pitch.

Do I think he has the ability to pitch? Absolutely, just like I do those other six guys. We don’t bring guys in here not to pitch. I think they’re opportunities are going to be there and their skill set will allow them to pitch at a high level. He’s obviously right there with that mix for other kids.

RHP Doug Norman, Fort Mill, S.C.

Dunn: One of the things that Doug brings, got a little different style of delivery, which I like. Gives you a different look coming out of that rotation or bullpen.

Great strike-thrower. Very confident on the mound. Great changeup which I’m a fastball, changedup guy anyway. You can pitch anywhere in baseball if you can command those two pitches. He did a very good job of doing that. I like that different look he gives.

Body-wise I think he’s such a projectable guy. He’s going to add weight. With weight, I think, comes stuff. High ceiling. I’m excited about him.

RHP Collin Strall, Suwanee, Georgia

Dunn: Junior college kid. Different look. Low three-quarter guy. When you’re trying to develop a bullpen, you want to have as much variation as you can. I think he does that.

He’s a strike thrower. Really good sink on his fastball. He’s got a great feel for a change(up). Should be a groundball type guy. Shows a lot of confidence. Things I heard about as we recruited him is he really wanted the ball in crunch time. That’s a great trait to have, especially in this conference.

RHP Jake Godfrey, New Lenox, Ill.

Dunn: Quality arm. Quality stuff. He’s been up to 94 (mph) velocity wise. A little different arm angle. Good movement on his fastball. Got a really hard slider.

Struggled early in his high school season but really locked it in at the end and really pitched good. Probably, early goings, a lot going on. Mentally, was trying to overdue it. Things kind of clicked and he was really throwing good down the stretch. I’m excited what he’s going to bring.

RHP Alex Lange, Lee’s Summit, Mo.

Dunn: Prototypical power pitcher’s build. Throws the ball at a very good angle. Three-pitch mix.

Here’s a kid that’s been at that 90-94 (mph) range. Strike thrower. Took his team late in the state playoffs as well. Very athletic. With his body, I think he’s a guy that could probably take a lot of innings for you. Exciting to have him in.

  • Overall

Dunn: The thing I want to reiterate is the skill set of all of these guys we’re bringing in is good. There’s been talk about what they throw stuff wise. I’m excited about that. The thing we have to remember is they are freshman outside of Strall.

As freshmen, there’s that maturation process you have to go through to learn what it takes to pitch in this league. They’ll learn that.

We’re a long ways from opening up. We’ve got a long way.

New assistant Andy Cannizaro officially hired, other news notes

LSU replaced hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez with former Tulane star and former major league shortstop Andy Cannizaro, the school officially announced on Monday.

Andy Cannizaro during Monday's press conference.

Andy Cannizaro during Monday’s press conference.

The Advocate reported the news upon Sanchez’s departure announcement.

Cannizaro, a New York Yankees scout for the past five years, is a former All-American shortstop at Tulane. Cannizaro, 35, played in the big leagues for the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. He has worked as a Yankees scout since 2009, evaluating and recruiting amateur players in preparation for the annual MLB Draft.

“I believe Andy is a real star in the making and will have a tremendous impact on our program working alongside Alan Dunn, Will Davis, Nolan Cain and myself,” coach Paul Mainieri said in a statement. “His enthusiasm, intelligence, knowledge of the game, playing experience, familiarity with the area, and his contacts throughout baseball make him a perfect fit for this position. “

Cannizaro, a native of Mandeville, La., was the Yankees’ seventh-round selection in the 2001 MLB Draft, and he played in the organization for seven seasons, reaching the Major League level in September 2006.

He joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and was on the club’s big-league roster for the first two months of the season. He later played for the AAA affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox before retiring from the game in September 2009.

During his pro career, he worked as head coach of the Louisiana Knights, a U18 fall team consisting of 12 NCAA Division I players.

Cannizaro, a four-year starter at shortstop for Tulane, led the 2001 Green Wave squad to the first College World Series appearance in school history, batting .395 with 118 hits, 34 doubles, 70 RBI and 52 stolen bases.

A two-time all-America and three-time all-Conference USA performer, Cannizaro is Tulane’s all-time leader in games played (248), at-bats (1,030), hits (350), doubles (85) and stolen bases (128). He was inducted in 2007 into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.

Other news notes:

  • Cade Stone, a freshman outfielder last season, has left the baseball team. He’s transferred to LSU-Eunice, Mainieri confirmed. Stone started two games and batted .250 last season.
  • Former LSU third baseman Christian Ibarra will be an undergraduate assistant with the team this season, according to LSU’s updated schedule.
  • LSU announced the jersey numbers of its freshmen: 2 Mike Papierski, 7 Greg Deichmann, 10 Grayson Byrd, 14 Mac Marshall, 18 Austin Bain, 21 Doug Norman, 24 Beau Jordan, 25 Bryce Jordan, 29 Jake Godfrey, 30 Collin Strall, 35 Alex Lange, 67 Jake Latz.

Comments from Cannizaro at Monday’s press conference:

Andy Cannizaro being introduced.

Andy Cannizaro being introduced.

  • Cannizaro: “I feel like I’m coming to work for the New York Yankees of college baseball.”
  • Cannizaro mentioned his career at Tulane. He says that while “he had a lot of tremendous battles with LSU,” he always respected the Tigers’ program.
  • Cannizaro said he’ll take coaching lessons he learned while playing under Rick Jones at Tulane to the LSU dugout.
  • Cannizaro called LSU the “top baseball program in the country.”
  • Cannizaro on his job: “One of the biggest things about being a hitting coach is identifiying each hitter’s strength.”
  • Cannizaro thanked Javi Sanchez for “taking him through this process” of transitioning to the new job.
  • Cannizaro calls pitching coach Alan Dunn the best pitching coach in the country and is exciting about “picking his brain.”
  • Cannizaro: “I come from a baseball family. Grew up around the game. Grew up in the dugout.”
  • Cannizaro: “Getting into college coaching was always something I really wanted to do.” Said he was flattered when got call.
  • Cannizaro will work with outfielders primarily. Mainieri will stay with infielders. Will Davis from outfielders to catchers.
  • Cannizaro on Alex Bregman: “He’s a tremendous player. I can’t wait to be around him … try to maximize his game.”
  • Cannizaro, former Tulane guy: “I look forward to being in this dugout and having 11,000 fans pulling for me rather than against me.”
  • As a Yankee scout, Cannizaro evaluated some of the same players Sanchez did. Ran into each other on road a lot.
  • Cannizaro’s scouting territory with Yankees: Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida panhandle, Memphis.

LSU’s 2015 baseball schedule

LSU coach Paul Mainieri and Aaron Nola celebrate the SEC tournament championship. (PATRICK DENNIS)

LSU coach Paul Mainieri and Aaron Nola celebrate the SEC tournament championship. (PATRICK DENNIS)

LSU is set to release its 2015 baseball schedule Monday afternoon.

Here’s our story from March with details on the schedule and below is the tentative 2015 schedule we were given in the spring (we don’t expect any changes):

February

  • 13: vs. Kansas
  • 14: vs. Kansas
  • 15: vs. Kansas
  • 18: vs. Nicholls State
  • 20: vs. Boston College
  • 21: vs. Boston College
  • 22: vs. Boston College
  • 25: vs. Southeastern Louisiana
  • 27: vs. Princeton
  • 28: vs. Princeton

March

  • 1: vs, Princeton
  • 3: vs. Stephen F. Austin
  • 4: vs. Grambling
  • 6: Nebraska/Houston/Baylor at Houston (Minute Maid Park)
  • 7: Nebraska/Houston/Baylor at Houston (Minute Maid Park)
  • 8: Nebraska/Houston/Baylor at Houston (Minute Maid Park)
  • 11: vs. McNeese State
  • 13: vs. Ole Miss
  • 14: vs. Ole Miss
  • 15: vs. Ole Miss
  • 18: at Southern
  • 20: at Arkansas
  • 21: at Arkansas
  • 22: at Arkansas
  • 24 at Tulane
  • 27: vs. Kentucky
  • 28: vs. Kentucky
  • 29: vs. Kentucky
  • 31: vs. UNO

April

  • 1: vs. Louisiana Lafayette at New Orleans (Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic)
  • 3: at Alabama
  • 4: at Alabama
  • 5: at Alabama
  • 8: vs. Northwestern State
  • 10: vs. Auburn
  • 11: vs. Auburn
  • 12: vs. Auburn
  • 15: vs. Lamar
  • 17: at Georgia
  • 18: at Georgia
  • 19: at Georgia
  • 22: vs. Tulane
  • 24: vs. Texas A&M
  • 25: vs. Texas A&M
  • 26: vs. Texas A&M
  • 28: vs. Alcorn State

May

  • 1: at Mississippi State
  • 2: at Mississippi State
  • 3: at Mississippi State
  • 8: vs. Missouri
  • 9: vs. Missouri
  • 10: vs. Missouri
  • 12: at UNO
  • 14: at South Carolina
  • 15: at South Carolina
  • 16: at South Carolina

Postseason

  • May 19-24: SEC tournament
  • Mat 29-June 1: NCAA regionals
  • June 5-8: NCAA super regionals
  • June 13-24: College World Series

Cannizaro to be introduced as new baseball assistant Monday

LSU is set to introduce its new assistant baseball coach at a press conference Monday, and its expected to be former Tulane star and New York Yankees scout Andy Cannizaro.

Test.

Andy Cannizaro is set to be LSU's new assistant baseball coach.

Andy Cannizaro is set to be LSU’s new assistant baseball coach.

The Tigers will also introduce the 2014 signing class and reveal the 2015 schedule.

The Advocate reported on LSU’s 2015 schedule in March. Here’s the story.

Cannizaro, multiple sources said, will replace hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Javi Sanchez. Sanchez left the program over the summer and plans to leave the coaching business.

Cannizaro,  a 35-year-old from Mandeville, was a major league shortstop and last played in the majors in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Coach Paul Mainieri could not confirm Cannizaro’s hiring, but multiple sources affirmed that he’ll be introduced Monday as Sanchez’s replacement.

Poll Speak: How they finished

Paul Mainieri and his Tigers finished as high as 15th and as low as 22nd this year. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

Paul Mainieri and his Tigers finished as high as 15th and as low as 22nd this year. (Travis Spradling | The Advocate)

The LSU baseball team finished in the top 22 in all five major college rankings released over the past week. Check out the full list below and click on the poll name for a link to the rankings.

Nola to make pro debut Monday (other ex-Tigers in the pros)

Aaron Nola makes his pro debut Monday night. (AP)

Aaron Nola makes his pro debut Monday night. (AP)

Less than three weeks after selecting Aaron Nola with the seventh pick in the MLB draft, the Philadelphia Phillies will thrust the former LSU ace into his professional debut.

Nola will start Monday night at 5:30 for the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies’ High-A affiliate in Florida, against the Lakeland Flying Tigers in Lakeland, Florida.

Clearwater is 20-52 this season. Nola will pitch against Venezuelan Yorfrank Lopez (71.0 IP, 4.56 ERA). Former LSU reliever Nate Fury, drafted in the 36th round by the Detroit Tigers, plays for Lakeland. Tyler Hanover, the ex-LSU infielder, also plays for the Flying Tigers.

Nola signed a contract with the Phillies that included a bonus of nearly $3.3 million. He’s expected to be the first pitcher from this year’s draft to make the move to the major leagues.

Nola will make his home debut Saturday and will don No. 49, according to a message posted on the Threshers’ Twitter account.

 

 

Four more LSU players were drafted in the June draft and have started their professional careers:

  • Joe Broussard, Ogden Raptors (Rookie): LSU’s 2014 hard-throwing closer, Broussard made his pro debut on Sunday and got the  win. The first reliever out of the bullpen, he threw 2.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit and striking out three.
  • Nate Fury, Lakeland Flying Tigers (Advanced A): Fury made his debut Friday, throwing one inning, allowing two hits and one run.
  • Tyler Moore, Brooklyn Cyclones (A – Short Season): Moore had played in nine games, at DH and catcher, and has a .231 average.
  • Sean McMullen, Greenville Astros (rookie): McMullen has played in four games and is batting .412, third on the team, and he’s driven in two runs.

Online registration available for Mainieri baseball camps

Paul Mainieri will conduct camps in July. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Paul Mainieri will conduct camps in July. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Online registration for the all five summer sessions of the Paul Mainieri/LSU Baseball Camp is now available at www.LSUbaseballcamps.com.

There are spaces available for all five camps, and they are open to any and all applicants entering grades K-8:

  • Session 1: June 30-July 3
  • Session 2: July 7-10
  • Session 3: July 14-17
  • Session 4: July 21-24
  • Session 5: July 28-31

The camps are designed to create enthusiasm for the game of baseball while teaching campers the skills they will need to be successful during competition. The camps offer daily instruction on position specific fundamentals – hitting, pitching, fielding and base running.

First-class instruction is offered for players of all ages and abilities in a structured, enthusiastic and fun environment. The camp staff features some of the best collegiate coaches and players, along with top high school coaches in the area.

Mainieri: It’s the perfect class

Coach Paul Mainieri has received assurances from 11 of his 12-member freshman signing class that they’ll play for LSU and not sign pro contracts.

Paul Mainieri calls LSU's signing class "perfect." (HILARY SCHEINUK | The Advocate)

Paul Mainieri calls LSU’s signing class “perfect.” (HILARY SCHEINUK | The Advocate)

That means the Tigers will reel in a group that Mainieri says might be the best he’s ever signed in eight years at LSU.

Mainieri sat down with The Advocate earlier this week to discuss the signing class, among other topics. You can read the full Q&A with the coach in The Advocate on Saturday (Part I) and Sunday (Part II).

For now, here’s a portion of Part II of the chat where Mainieri touches on this class of freshmen.

Q: How excited are you about this freshman class?

Mainieri: I haven’t been this excited about a class since, really, our first class that came in – the class with (Kevin) Gausman and (Ryan) Eades and (Jacoby) Jones and (Ty) Ross. That was a pretty great class, too. Probably felt the same way about that class. This class, I don’t know, it just strikes me as being the perfect class. I know that it’s hard to say that something’s perfect, but it just feels that way. We’ve got some really high end players that literally turned down $1 million. One turned down $1 million. One turned down very close to $1 million. The rest of them were going to be draft choices between the third and 12th round if they wanted to be. The reason they didn’t get picked there was because they had indicated to pro scout that they were going to go to LSU no matter what. They didn’t waste draft picks on them.

We had five draft picks that are coming to school, but trust me when I tell you that the rest of them that weren’t drafted easily would have been or could have been or should have been.

This is a talented group. We’ve got the pitchers that are going to replenish our staff, plus we’ll have three or four guys coming back from injury last year. I’m excited about that. I think our staff is going to be strong. We’re just going to have some youth. That’s not going to be an excuse. We’re going to have to get them ready quickly. We’ve got the right pitching coach to do that.

I’m also equally as excited about the position players. The two Jordan boys at Barbe (Beau and Bryce) are winners. If you looked up the word ‘winner’ in the dictionary, you’d see their pictures there. They’re good ballplayers.

I think (Greg) Deichmann and (Grayson) Byrd are going to be really

Javi Sanchez gets much of the credit for reeling in LSU's class, Mainieri said. (Patrick Dennis |The Advocate)

Javi Sanchez gets much of the credit for reeling in LSU’s class, Mainieri said. (Patrick Dennis |The Advocate)

great players here. And Mike Papierski reminds me an awful lot of Micah Gibbs. Maybe even better. He’s a switch hitting catcher that has the talent and the tools and is going to have a tremendous future here. I’m equally excited about those guys. If you asked me to draw up the perfect class, this would be it. I think (recruiting coordinator and hitting coach Javi) Sanchez did an amazing job putting it together.

Q: What do you tell an 18-year old who calls and tells you that he turned down $1 million to come play for you?

Mainieri: I tell them that they exhibited an unparalleled level of confidence in themselves of decisiveness and of valuing what the experience of LSU is going to be like. Personally, I think they all made good decisions. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

I totally understand Bobby Bradley, why he decided to sign. I totally supported his decision to do that, and I wish him nothing but the best. The other kids who turned it down and decided to come to LSU, I’m going to wrap my arms around them, welcome them into the program and get to work.

I think they’re going to have a significant impact on the program. I don’t know if it’s going to be ranked the No. 1 class in the country. It should be. That’s the talent on the team. That’s the talent in the class. I don’t know how those people that rank them do that, but for me it’s the No. 1 class in the country. It might be the best class we ever had here.

Mainieri: ‘These last three days have been trying’

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Coach Paul Mainieri met with reporters Thursday for the first time since the Tigers bowed out of the NCAA postseason by losing back-to-back game to Houston in the NCAA Baton Rouge regional.

We supply a few newsy nuggets from our chat below. Check out the above video, too.

  • Of all of the decisions Mainieri made Sunday and Monday, he is second-guessing himself on one: starting the eighth inning Sunday night with Kurt McCune – as LSU nursed a 4-0 lead. “Maybe I should have gone with Joe Broussard,” Mainieri said. Mainieri’s decision to leave Broussard in the bullpen came from his fear that the closer’s velocity would have dropped after pitching the night before. That’s what happened in the series at Texas A&M. “I was a little concerned, after throwing 20 pitches, would he have the endurance, would he have the velocity for two full innings, ” Mainieri said. The coach somewhat regrets the decision after seeing Broussard pitch three innings later in that same game.
  • Among all of LSU’s healthy pitchers, Kyle Bouman will be the only one who will be shut down, Mainieri said, this summer. Jared Poche, meanwhile, will get four starts this summer for five innings each in the Cape Cod Leagie.
  • So what’s the 2015 LSU infield look like? It’s too early to tell, Mainieri said. Tyler Moore’s status (go pro or not) will help shake out things, Mainieri said. “That could affect what we do with Conner Hale,” Mainieri said. Hale was originally signed to be a third baseman. “We don’t know how Danny Zardon and Kramer Robertson played this summer,” the coach said. “We know what we have in Bregman.” Mainieri suggested that two signees – shortstops Greg Deichmann and Grayson Byrd – will give serious competition to all infielders – outside of Bregman.