Rebels hopeful to have Kessinger for opening day after suffering sprained ankle

Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger left Saturday’s intrasquad game with what ended up being a sprained right ankle after an X-ray turned up negative.

Kessinger injured the same ankle nearly a year to the day while rehabbing from a Jones Fracture in his foot that cost him the end of his freshman season.

“He is certainly moving in the right direction,” head coach Mike Bianco. “Very similar, and it happened within a couple of days of when it happened last year. It will probably be a week or two, but I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. The hope is that he will be ready for opening day.”

Anthony Servideo would likely get the nod at shortstop if Kessinger is unavailable for opening day, though that is not expected to be the case. Servideo made a couple starts at shortstop last year when Kessinger missed time with minor injuries. Servideo is one of the better defenders on the team and will likely see playing time at second base or even the outfield in some capacity. He will likely be the shortstop when Kessinger moves on from the program and has already proven to be a formidable option if Kessinger is unavailable at any point in the year.

“You never want to lose a big part, even for a game, but I think that is one of the things when you have depth and really good players, that is what makes you feel a little better if you had to start opening day without him,” Bianco said. “Certainly, we are much better team with him, but if something happens — which happened in the SEC Tournament championship game and a couple times throughout the season — we felt pretty good that we had someone else that could step up and do the job.”

Ole Miss is now less than two weeks from opening day. With seven starters returning in the field, much of what is still uncertain with this team lies on the mound, and particularly a weekend rotation looking to replace all three cogs. Will Ethridge is likely the Friday night starter and one could surmise Houston Roth will likely end up in the rotation too. Bianco is still looking to round it out as well as a midweek starter and possibly get an idea of some potential bullpen roles. He was pleased with the way the staff pitched as a whole in the most recent weekend of scrimmages.

“I thought we commanded it well as a staff better this weekend than the first weekend,” Bianco said. “First weekend, it was about 50-50. I thought about half the guys pitched it well, the other half struggled in the strike zone. This weekend, more guys jumped on board with that and saw success.”