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CAL
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17 CSF

Injury Bug Takes Aim At No. 23 Rice

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Injuries have taken their toll on several college baseball teams over the past week, and Rice, which has the marquee series of Opening Weekend against Texas, is the latest program to fall victim as junior righthanders Glenn Otto and Willy Amador are doubtful against the Longhorns because of injuries.

Rice University logoOtto clearly is the most noteworthy setback. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound righty, who is the premier prospect in Conference USA’s 2017 draft class, has yet to pitch off the mound this spring because of shoulder discomfort. While Otto is pain-free at the moment, the Owls are expected to play it safe with him against the Longhorns next weekend.

The door is not shut on Otto, however. He’ll take the mound on Friday to test out the arm, and the Owls are expected to give him another trial run early next week. Should he pass those tests, there’s a chance he could take the mound for an inning or two against the Longhorns.

When healthy, Otto is one of the true weapons in college baseball. His fastball ranges anywhere from 91-94 and up to 95 mph, while his curveball serves as a plus offering. Last season, he appeared in 33 games, recorded eight saves and struck out 76 and walked 30 in 71.2 innings. He also tallied a 2.26 ERA and limited teams to a .209 batting average.

Amador, a 6-foot, 198-pounder, is another tough potential setback. Amador’s injury isn’t arm or shoulder related. Instead, he broke his nose after taking a line-drive to the face. For now, Amador looks like a no-go against the Longhorns. However, he has not been ruled out and could be a game-time decision.

The Bryan, Texas, native is a rather intriguing pitcher. He’ll sit in the upper-80s into the low-90s and possesses a good breaking ball. He looked good at times last season, tallying a 5.36 ERA in 47 innings, along with 37 strikeouts and 15 walks. Consistency will be the key with him in 2017.

While not having Otto next weekend causes issues for the Owls on the back-end of the bullpen, the potential loss of Amador might be even bigger considering it’s a four-game set. Should Amador not be able to go, the Owls could fill that void with freshman righthander Matt Canterino. Canterino missed the fall because of an injury he sustained in high school, but has been electric at times this spring, sitting low-90s with his fastball with filthy overall stuff.

Meanwhile, all eyes next weekend will be on Rice righthander Dane Myers. The two-way standout had a terrific fall, getting up to 90s with his fastball, while also showcasing more power at the plate. Most notable, though, is the fact Myers has gained 10-15 pounds of muscle since last season and become more durable as a result.

Stay tuned for more on the Owls.

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