Last season’s most dominant Michigan pitcher, Drew Taylor,
will remain out of action for a minimum of three more weeks. The
junior, who was a member of the All-Big Ten first team as a
starting pitcher in 2003, has been suffering from tendinitis in his
arm that forced the team to take him out three weeks ago.

“It got to the point (the doctors) wanted him to shut
down,” Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. “He
can’t do anything right now until we get a release from the
doctors.”

The team declined to be more specific on the nature of the
injury.

Even if Taylor starts throwing off the mound in three weeks, he
faces the daunting challenge of rebuilding his arm strength before
the end of the season.

“It doesn’t look good that we are going to be able
to get him back (this year),” Maloney said.

After lasting just 11 batters in the season opener against
Florida, when he gave up four hits in his only inning of work,
Taylor was pegged by Illinois-Chicago for seven runs. His command
was clearly not there.

“(During my) second start I really felt it a lot,”
Taylor said. “After that, I knew it was something that had to
be checked out.”

He hasn’t pitched since.

During his sophomore season, Taylor registered a 9-1 record with
five complete games and a 3.97 ERA. After the season, Baseball
America projected him to claim another spot on the All-Big Ten
first team.

Because he cannot throw right now, Taylor has been running to
keep his legs and lower body in shape. While the Wolverines are on
the diamond, he finds himself trying to keep his teammates up.

“During games I’m just being into it, be as vocal as
possible and trying be a good example (to my teammates),”
Taylor said.

In his absence, redshirt junior Jim Brauer, junior Michael Penn
and sophomore Derek Feldkamp have tried to share the ace
duties.

“It’s always frustrating when you are not
playing,” Taylor said. “But I’m not frustrated at
all with the way the other guys are playing. It’s been very
exciting.”

Brauer was blowing fastballs past the Illini during his start on
Saturday. Feldkamp, who is coming off of Big Ten
co-Pitcher-of-the-Week honors, pitched his second-straight complete
game Saturday, while Penn has shouldered the most innings of any
Wolverine pitcher (46).

“It hurts ‘cause he was our best guy last year. But
the other guys have been starting to pick it up for us,”
pitching coach John Lowery said.

Until he receives the clearance to pitch, the Toronto native
will continue to cheer from the bench along the third base line at
The Fish.

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