Soundoff: Gamecocks in unhealthy situation

Posted by NEIL WHITE on April 17, 2014 

South Carolina Gamecocks left fielder Patrick Harrington (5) leads his team in the pre game huddle before the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Florida Gators. The Gamecocks lost the game 6-5 and the series 2-1.

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com

HOW HEALTHY are the Gamecocks going to be for the key road series against Auburn this weekend? It’s not looking good.

After missing four starters Tuesday night in the 4-1 loss to Charleston Southern – third baseman Joey Pankake (hamstring), second baseman Max Schrock (illness), shortstop Marcus Mooney (concussion) and right fielder Connor Bright (elbow) – South Carolina had hoped to be closer to full-speed for the Tigers.

Schrock, who also missed the entire Florida series because of an ailment that has been described as a virus, returned to the lineup against The Citadel on Wednesday, although he played third base. But he struck out in both of his at-bats before being taken out in the fourth inning.

But it wasn’t his recent illness that slowed him. It was a new ailment.

“Max is iffy at best,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “I didn’t take Max out because he struck out. I took him out because he’s hurt. It’s his back. He can’t move. Max might not be with us the rest of the year.”

Panake took batting practice against The Citadel, but he did not play. Holbrook knows it’ll be important to have him on the field this weekend.

“Joey swung the bat fine (in BP), but we’re going into hostile territory against a good team short-handed,” Holbrook said. “We’re a team that lacks confidence right now.”

Bright, whose arm was in a sling Wednesday because of the hyper-extended elbow, appears doubtful for the Auburn series.

“It’ll be how he feels and how he responds to treatment,” Holbrook said. “Connor’s situation could be a long period of time, too.”

And Mooney, who suffered the concussion Sunday against the Gators, will not play against Auburn. He will return, at the earliest, for the Tuesday game next week.

“It’s a concern,” Holbrook said

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