Tennessee loses Blade Tidwell to injury

 Chris Lee   in Baseball

The Vols are going to be without a key arm.

Blade Tidwell photo courtesy of the University of Tennessee.

Tennessee right-hander Blade Tidwell's future for 2022 is in doubt due to injury, as first reported by Tim Owens of WATE

Multiple sources privately confirmed to Southeastern 14 that it’s a labrum injury. The Vols will attempt to rehab Tidwell and hope to have him later in the season but he will not be available at the beginning of the season.

“Our team doctor is coming up with a plan to address stiffness in his shoulder causing pain,” Tennessee coach Tony Vitello said in a text to Southeastern 14. “We will come up with a plan but he will not be available at the start of the season.”

Tidwell, a preseason All-American by multiple outlets, led the Vols to the College World Series in 2021 and a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division tit, leading the team in starts (18) while posting a 10-3 mark with a 3.74 ERA in 98.2 innings. Tidwell, a true freshman last season, struck out 90 and walked 34.

Tidwell was expected to be the Friday night starter for Tennessee before the injury. The draft-eligible sophomore was recently tabbed by MLB.com as the No. 13 overall prospect for the 2022 MLB Draft.

It's the second huge blow to Vitello's pitching staff. Missouri transfer Seth Halvorsen, who was also expected to be in the rotation, will also miss significant time with an injury

Tidwell hails from Loretto, Tennessee, where he was teammates with San Diego Padres pitcher Ryan Weathers at Loretto High. He was the No. 71 player in last year's class, according to Perfect Game.