'Bows' pitcher Slaats sidelined
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai'i junior right-hander Josh Slaats, the announced starter for to-night's opener of a four-game series with the Southern California Trojans, has an ailing throwing arm and will not be available.
"He felt some discomfort in his elbow (Wednesday) night," Hawai'i baseball coach Mike Trapasso said. "He threw a light bullpen which is normal for a Friday start."
Trapasso added: "The doctor said everything is fine, if anything, it's elbow tenderness, tendinitis. But it's so early in the season, it's not worth taking any chances."
Trapasso will move everyone in the original rotation up a day. That makes Nate Klein (1-0, 5.60 ERA) the series starter, his role in the previous three series. Sam Spangler (2-1, 4.82) will start tomorrow's game, and Matt Sisto (1-2, 7.13) will start Sunday.
As for Slaats (1-0, 0.52), the reigning Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week, his availability is still in question, although if his arm is feeling better, he could see time Monday. If not, the Rainbows will see "if we have anyone still standing, and we'll start them," Trapasso said.
"If this were a conference game or later in the year, he would be able to throw, but it's just one of those things, where pitchers can be tender from time to time," Trapasso said. "It's kind of a normal occurrence . I didn't know about it until practice today. I just made that decision. If he goes out there and has any question about his arm, he's not going to throw good anyways."
The Rainbows (6-6) will have to be sharp despite taking on a USC team that enters at 6-7.
"I think it's just early and they played some great teams," Trapasso said. "They've played a little inconsistent but they have talent."
The Trojans, who boast a record 12 College World Series titles, have wins over Cal Poly, Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State, New Mexico and Pepperdine, and four of their losses came against teams ranked in College Baseball's top 30.
"They are going to put it together. They've beaten good teams," Trapasso said. "We just hope it's not for another couple of weeks. They are very talented."
It is the fourth straight home series for the Rainbows, who also host Air Force next week. Trapasso said last year's non-conference road trip, along with the way the team traveled for conference games, made them "fatigued at the end of the conference (season)."
This year, the original plan was to take a trip to Palm Springs, Calif. Instead, Trapasso canceled that trip and scheduled The Citadel, last weekend's opponent.
"It's always good to have home cooking and sleep in your own bed," Trapasso said. "We wanted to stay at home and travel less than we did last year.
"It just made sense to me this year, to start off at home for four or five weeks."