Coming off a banner season, but losing almost an entire starting outfield, the one thing Coach O'Connor and the Cavaliers couldn't afford was to lose one of the most experienced bats in their lineup. Unfortunately for UVa, that happened as news broke yesterday that starting RF, 3rd Year Joe McCarthy was going to need back surgery and spend the next twelve (12) weeks rehabbing.
To say the Hoos are going to miss McCarthy would be an understatement. Although his offensive production dropped a bit from his first year, he still maintained a .301 average while slugging .449 with six home runs. Although the numbers went down, the accolades went up. He was boosted to First Team All-ACC after making the Second Team his first year. He was also fifth in the ACC (2nd on the team) in hits with 77, 2nd in the ACC in runs, and 4th in RBI. Perhaps his most important contribution was batting .400 (4-10) in the CWS Championship Series against Vanderbilt.
Losing McCarthy is certainly unfortunate, but luckily O'Connor and Co. know how to recruit studs, and with 12 weeks to play with, Oak will figure it out. It is looking more and more likely that First Year Adam Haseley was going to have CF locked up. Meanwhile, veterans Thomas Woodruff and John LaPrise were going to battle with First Year Charlie Cody for the LF position. With McCarthy going down, that opens up a three man race for two spots. If I was a betting man, I'd say LaPrise likely plays LF while Woodruff and Cody mix time in RF.
Schedule wise, 12 weeks out from today means McCarthy could return for the trip to Raleigh. The worst news is that it would only give him two more ACC series (vs. Duke & @UNC) to get back in the swing of things. The good news is that should he progress a little faster, but not be good enough to play in meaningful games, McCarthy will likely be able to take part in intersquad scrimmages and face pitching that is going to be just as good as he could see in any ACC weekend.
McCarthy was going to be a mainstay and a likely All-ACC outfielder this year for the Hoos. Hopefully the two First Years, Cody and Haseley can progress while Woodruff and LaPrise provide veteran leadership in the OF.
A bump in the road, but all hope is not lost. 14 days til first pitch!