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Meyer out 3-4 weeks with mononucleosis

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BSB 08_09 UK_AU Game3 Web 07.jpgThe UK baseball team suffered a major hit to its starting pitching rotation when it was announced sophomore standout Alex Meyer would miss the next 3-4 weeks with mononucleosis.

Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound right-hander, leads the team with 52 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched. A native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer (4-2, 7.30 ERA) has made eight starts and appeared in nine games for UK in 2010. Over his two-year career, Meyer has struck out 132 in 100.1 innings, allowing 99 hits.

"I feel really bad for Alex," head coach Gary Henderson said. "He has really been making some good strides and is obviously getting better daily. This will only be a temporary setback for him. What this will do is provide an opportunity for some of our guys to step up and fill a vital role on our club."

Meyer, long regarded as a future MLB first-round pick, has looked tiresome on the mound of late. He lasted just five innings against Alabama on Sunday and had not pitched more than six innings since the Ole Miss game on March 21. It wasn't known until this week that mononucleosis was the reason for the fatigue.

The baseball team had been picking up steam of late, winning three out of the last four games over nationally ranked Louisville and Alabama.

Without Meyer, Henderson will have to quickly find a Sunday starter to fill his role during a critical stretch that includes Florida, Auburn and Tennessee over the next three weekends.

Sunday's starter is to be determined, but the job will likely come down to four candidates, three of which have made weekday starts this year: Jordan Cooper, Sean Bouthilette, Sam Kidd and Braden Kapteyn.

Bouthilette (two starts) is 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA this season, Cooper (two starts) is 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA and Kidd (four starts) is 1-1 with a 6.86 ERA. The wildcard is clearly Kapteyn, who, of the four candidates, has the most electric stuff.

Kapteyn (1-0, 0.93 ERA in eight appearances) has not started a game this season but was sensational over the summer as a starter in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. Kapteyn pitched in eight games with seven starts, totaling a 4-1 record with a 2.47 ERA. Kapteyn led the NYCBL with 72 strikeouts in 47.1 innings and allowed just 23 hits.

Cooper is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his two starts.

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