COLUMBIA — Just when it appeared South Carolina had finally kicked the injury bug, the team announced Sunday that senior backup catcher Dante Rosenberg would miss six to eight weeks with a broken hamate bone in his left wrist. He will undergo surgery this week. Rosenberg suffered the injury during batting practice before Friday’s loss at Florida.
Sophomore Grayson Greiner is USC’s primary catcher, but Rosenberg spells Greiner when he needs rest. Before getting hurt, Rosenberg had played in 12 of USC’s first 35 games this season. He started all 12 and was hitting .319. Last season, he was also the backup catcher and played in 31 of 69 games, with 22 starts. He hit .209.
Rosenberg transferred from junior college before the 2011 season, but played in just two games that season because of a back injury that resulted in a medical redshirt.
Nobody other than Greiner or Rosenberg has started at catcher for USC since the beginning of last season. The only other player listed as a catcher on USC’s roster is sophomore Patrick Harrington. He has played in one game this season as a reserve and has one at-bat. In the previous two seasons combined, he had three at-bats in five games, with one start in 2011, when he received a medical redshirt.
USC has dealt with plenty of injuries already this season.
Ace pitcher Jordan Montgomery missed four starts with a bone stress reaction in his elbow. He returned to the rotation for the past two starts, but threw just 59 and 66 pitches against Tennessee and Florida.
Centerfielder Tanner English didn’t start for nine straight games last month because of a shoulder injury. Left fielder Graham Saiko missed seven straight starts last month with a wrist. Both players have started USC’s past three Southeastern Conference series — sweeps of wins over Texas A&M and Tennessee, and a sweep of losses at Florida.
Second baseman Max Schrock suffered a mild concussion and neck whiplash during a collision with a base runner in Tuesday’s win over The Citadel, but he missed just one game, Thursday at Florida.
A day later, Rosenberg went down. Rosenberg’s recovery window means he won’t be back until the beginning of the NCAA tournament at the earliest. An eight-week recovery period wouldn’t bring Rosenberg back until the end of the tournament’s Super Regional, if USC advances that far.
The Gamecocks (27-10, 8-7 SEC) are now halfway through their conference schedule. They were also 8-7 at the midpoint last season, when they had 72 runs scored and 71 allowed. They went on to make the College World Series finals for the third consecutive season. This season, they have scored 75 runs and allowed 73 at the league schedule’s midpoint.
USC has now been swept twice this season, including a home sweep by Arkansas. Since USC joined the SEC in 1992, it has rarely been swept multiple times in a season. It happened twice in 1992, 1996 and 2006, and three times in 2008. USC made a Super Regional in just one of those seasons, 2006, when it failed to advance to the World Series.
The Gamecocks’ next three series will be critical to their season. They host Kentucky this weekend, and then travel to LSU and host Vanderbilt. USC entered this weekend ranked No. 11 by Baseball America, while Kentucky was No. 13, LSU No. 3 and Vanderbilt No. 2.