News from the Tennessee Valley Sports
FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2007

Alabama dismisses pitcher

By Josh Cooper · 340-2460

Alabama coach Jim Wells says his team has a month to get better.

That could be difficult considering that the Tide has now lost another starting pitcher. Bernard Robert who pitched for the Tide on Saturdays was dismissed from the team Thursday for “violating team rules.”

Robert and his family did not immediately return phone calls by The Daily, but the departure pours more salt an already-wounded pitching situation for the Tide.

Alabama’s Friday starter is to be announced, with right-handed utility pitcher Tommy Hunter slated to start Saturday, and normal game one starter Miers Quigley tossing Sunday.

“Sometimes things are difficult,” said Wells. “But it’s just the way it is. You have to take a hit sometimes for the betterment of others or for the right thing to do.”

There is the off chance that losing Robert could bring out a positive situation. While taking away Robert’s 64 1/3 innings pitched doesn’t help, it could bring some normalcy to Hunter’s position on the pitching staff.

Hunter says his floating middle relief, closer, long relief, starting role does not affect him, but both Wells and Hunter indicate that the team feels a sense of confidence with the 6-foot-4, 250-pound hard-throwing right-hander on the mound.

“I don’t know if it is a comfort zone that they have with me out there,” Hunter says. “But when I am in the game everybody knows they are going to have to play and make that diving stop.”

Oddly enough, Hunter has seen the most on-field action out of any Tide pitcher, tossing 69 2/3 innings.

He has appeared in 21 games, but started in only six of them.

Hunter sports the lowest earned run average (3.36) on the team for pitchers who have tossed more than 35 innings.

“The guys you have seen are the guys we have,” Wells said. “We don’t have anybody in the holding tank. And they’ll get better. We have a month, that’s the time frame that we are working with.”

Alabama (23-19, 8-10 SEC) begins a weekend series with South Carolina (32-11, 10-8) in Tuscaloosa on Friday night.

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