Senior’s injury puts leadoff spot up for grabs

Andy Henkemeyer is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, but X-rays were negative.

Minnesota senior Andy Henkemeyer stops at second base after hitting a double against Western Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at the Metrodome. Henkemeyer injured his shoulder last weekend and could miss significant time.

Amanda Snyder, Daily File Photo

Minnesota senior Andy Henkemeyer stops at second base after hitting a double against Western Michigan on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at the Metrodome. Henkemeyer injured his shoulder last weekend and could miss significant time.

Samuel Gordon

The Gophers baseball team got some good news Tuesday.

Starting left fielder and leadoff hitter Andy Henkemeyer, who injured his shoulder in Saturday’s win over Utah, had X-rays come back negative, head coach John Anderson said.

Still, “It’s going to take some time,” Anderson said.

Henkemeyer, a senior, was hitting .333 through 10 games this season and was considered a leader by his teammates.

“To see a guy go down like that, it definitely takes a hit to your confidence as a team a little bit,” sophomore outfielder Jake Bergren said. “He’s such an integral part of this team.”

Another player will need to hold down the leadoff spot and the left-field position until Henkemeyer returns. Anderson said that decision is yet to be made.

Freshman second baseman Connor Schaefbauer led off Sunday’s game. Senior Troy Larson, the regular center fielder, played left field.

Larson said he has no preference as to where he plays or where he hits in the lineup.

He batted leadoff 21 times last year and would be a logical choice to replace Henkemeyer at the top of the order.

His .374 on-base percentage was tied for the fourth-best among regular players on the team last year. So far this season, he’s getting on base at a .382 clip and batting .323.

Anderson said he’d like to keep Larson in left field for the duration of Henkemeyer’s injury.

That would open up the spot in center field. Freshman Dan Motl started in center Sunday, and Bergren replaced him in the eighth inning.

Anderson said Motl, Bergren and junior David Bettenburg could all see more playing time.

The Gophers will tinker with their lineup against Division III foe Hamline on Wednesday, Anderson said.

Junior lefty Kyle O’Shea will take the mound for Minnesota. O’Shea is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in two starts this year.

He threw only 8.1 innings last season, and Anderson said he is pleasantly surprised with O’Shea’s progress.

“He’s throwing more strikes than he has in his career. He looks more confident,” Anderson said. “We’re going to need him here.”

Meyer earns Big Ten honor

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ben Meyer was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for his performance against Utah.

Meyer allowed three hits and one unearned run over eight innings, a career-long outing.