Others will have to pitch in for 'Bows
BY Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
Given the status of two starting pitchers, Hawai'i can say it's snake bit.
Or maybe blessed.
The Rainbows (7-9) enter this weekend's four-game series with Air Force (5-12) without right-hander Nate Klein (shoulder) and possibly right-hander Josh Slaats (elbow). Their losses mean right-handed relievers Alex Capaul and Zach Gallagher will fill the void in the rotation. But it also means the remaining relief pitchers might be pressed into more action than usual.
The blessing is that this is a chance for UH to strengthen its depth for the Western Athletic Conference season, which opens April 9.
"That's why you recruit," UH coach Mike Trapasso said. "The other guys are going to have opportunities to do well and they need to pitch better than they have. Connor Little needs to pitch better. Jesse Moore needs to pitch better. Those guys have pitched well in the past and we expect them to pitch well. Right now, when we throw them out there, we expect them to do well because they're good. Trent Allianic, we're making some adjustments this week and he'll get some innings."
One thing is certain: left-hander Sam Spangler will start tomorrow's series opener. It's the spot he was originally pegged for until tenderness in his shoulder in January put him behind schedule as far as pitching shape. Spangler threw 95 pitches in 6 2/3 innings in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Southern California.
Slaats, who was to have started the series opener against USC, missed his turn because of inflammation in his elbow. Trapasso said that although Slaats was cleared by his doctor to pitch the past Monday, he would have been limited to about three innings. Trapasso opted to play it safe.
"He's got a future, No. 1," Trapasso said. "No. 2, he's thrown so well for us that when he comes back it's not going to be until he's 100 percent. I'm not going to take a chance on this being a recurring thing. So if we have to hold him out another week, then we will. The problem you get into is that for every week that you hold out a guy, it's going to take that same amount of weeks to get back in shape at 100 percent when it comes to pitch count and productivity."
Klein, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings in the series opener against USC because of shoulder inflammation, will be out two to three weeks, Trapasso said.
Capaul, who replaced Klein in the USC game and allowed a run and six hits in 5[0xb0] innings, will start Saturday or Sunday. Capaul also had a four-inning relief stint in which he allowed one run against Oregon on Feb. 28.
Matt Sisto, originally pushed back in the rotation to Monday because of a hamstring issue, pitched 2[0xb0] innings against USC on Sunday. He is scheduled to start Monday.
If Slaats is unable to pitch, Gallagher, who started Monday and went 3[0xb0] innings while allowing three runs, will make his second start of the season.
Not all of UH's pitching issues are physical. Closer Lenny Linsky got a stern lecture from Trapasso after he threw behind a USC batter in Monday's series finale. It led to a warning, but no ejection. Trapasso said the issue has been resolved.
"We've talked about it and he understands what the situation was and it's over with," Trapasso said. "He understands where he was in the wrong and that won't happen again."
TICKET, PARKING PRICES
Tickets for lower and middle levels, $8. Upper level adults, $6; senior citizens, $5; UH students and student K to 12, $3. Mānoa Maniacs lower level JJ, $5.
Parking is $5, active and retired military will get 50 percent off up to a maximum of four tickets per person for the entire series; military ID required.