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Newbies, handful of vets will lead baseball Wildcats

Citizen Staff Writer



Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez would like nothing better than to open practice by talking about power hitters, ace pitchers, depth and trying to better last year’s super-regional appearance.

Instead, the veteran coach focuses on the exciting topic of . . . forbearance.

“We are going to have to have a lot of patience,” Lopez said Monday as UA began workouts for the season. “We lost a lot of guys to the draft and we are starting a young team at a lot of positions.

“There is good news: We are very confident in the guys we have. We think they are going to be the nucleus for our team for years to come.

“(But) they are not going to do it the first couple of weeks. It’s going to take some time.”

Arizona opens the season against Sacramento State at home at 7 p.m. Feb. 20.

The Wildcats lost virtually their entire starting lineup and the brunt of the pitching staff from a team that was one win away from a trip to the College World Series a year ago.

Arizona lost to Miami in the final game of a best-of-three series to end its season.

Ace starting pitcher Preston Guilmet and third baseman Brad Glenn will be the players UA looks to until the younger players fully develop.

“They are going to be very important,” Lopez said. “Getting those guys back is huge.”

Guilmet struggled with arm problems a year ago en route to a 6-4 season. He was the Pac-10′s pitcher of the year the season before.

Glenn is coming back from a severe hand injury, but “he is hitting the heck out of the ball,” Lopez said.

Glenn is No. 3 in school history with 34 homers. He’ll be needed to drive in plenty of runs this season.

“A year ago we figured if we got three runs that would be good enough to pull off a victory in most cases,” Lopez said.

“We might need five or six runs this year depending on the day of the week. (The hitters) have to have good seasons. They have to be coming out of the gate swinging.”

Some of the youngsters who will be asked to step forward right away are right-handed starting pitcher Matt Veltmann, freshman pitcher Donn Roach, infielder Steve Selsky and catcher/utility man Jett Bandy.

Roach was 8-1 with a 1.72 ERA last year at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.

Veltmann had an impressive fall camp.

“He was as good as anybody we have had,” Lopez said.

Selsky is the power hitter needed, while Bandy was his league’s MVP with a .373 average with nine home runs.

Handful of key veterans, some newbies to lead bat Cats

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