Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen explained that third baseman Daryl Norris was weeks away from seeing action in a Bulldog uniform.
On Friday night, all Norris did was go 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, a RBI, and a run scored.
It wasn’t gamesmanship on the part of Cohen, it was simply Norris deciding he was ready to get into the action.
“It has been a little over four weeks now since I’ve seen live pitching and I just started getting swings this week,” said Norris, who led the team with a .375 batting average prior to his injury. “I didn’t really have to talk him into it, but my swing felt alright… it was just a matter of working me in the lineup.”
Following their routine session of batting practice on Friday, Norris informed Cohen he was ready to give his knee a try after missing 17 games with a knee injury.
“He is a very mature guy who can slow the game down,” said Cohen. “He’s not one of those guys whose (heart speeds up). He’s not that guy. He was a guy that was a quarterback at a high level in high school. He’s done a whole lot of things athletically on a big stage.”
Norris went down on March 7, leaving him sidelined for the opening three SEC series, something he never wants to do again.
“It was hard and something I’ve never had to experience and don’t want to again,” Norris said. “I’m glad I got a chance to go to Auburn. LSU, I wish I could have been there.”
Norris wasn't the only person happy about getting into the action.
“His adrenaline and his maturity got him through the game tonight,” Cohen said. “It is not just huge what he does at home plate. He might keep an inexperienced player off the field and those two things really make a difference for your ballclub. We need that guy.”
Cohen wasn’t the only one, as his teammates are quick to point out the lift he gives his team.
“We see how hard the guy works," MSU freshman first baseman Wes Rea said. "I almost felt like he was invincible until he got hurt. I just see how hard he works to get back. I don’t think many guys in the country would come back as fast as him. You can’t help but be happy for the guy.”
Will the sophomore be able to go the rest of the weekend? That’s a question no one has the answer for just yet.
“We are going to wake up (this) morning and evaluate his knee and see if he can go,” Cohen said. “I’d really like to pencil him in a third base, but I just can’t imagine that his knee will be able to do that.”