The Auburn pitching staff may be on the verge of receiving a huge boost, as Will Kendall is scheduled to make his first start of the season Tuesday at Kennesaw State.
Tues @ Kennesaw St (5pm CT) LH Kendall (0-0, 0.00) vs RH Hillyer (1-0, 1.17) / Blake Austin named to Bench Watch list bit.ly/12Jr5Ma— Auburn Baseball (@AUTigerBaseball) March 11, 2013
Before suffering a season-ending elbow injury last year on April 7 against Alabama, Kendall had been Auburn's best pitcher. The then-sophomore lefty was 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA through six starts (nine total appearances). He had a 19-8 strikeout-walk ratio, and opposing batters were hitting just .228 against him in 38 1/3 innings.
Kendall's surprise return is fairly stunning, as he had Tommy John surgery in the middle of April last year. Recovery from the procedure typically takes a year, so clearly, Kendall is getting back on the mound ahead of schedule. If he's truly ready to return and can shake the rust off quickly, Auburn's pitching staff all of a sudden has three solid starters for weekend SEC series. His return could make a huge difference in the Tigers' season.
However, if he's coming back too quickly, it will likely mean bad news for his future at Auburn and beyond. Re-injuring a surgically repaired elbow when it's not yet fully healthy could have severe long-term effects. Whether or not Kendall is coming back too soon, we'll just have to wait and see.