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SIU Closer Lee Weld out for the Season

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois sophomore right-handed pitcher Lee Weld is going to miss the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, interim head coach Ken Henderson announced Monday.

Weld had surgery on Jan. 6 to repair a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.

“It’s a huge loss because he was going to be our closer,” Henderson said. “He is a very, very talented kid, his make-up is tremendous and he’s a guy who wants the ball. Lee approaches the game the right way, so we’ll miss his ability, but we’ll also miss that being on the field.

“To find somebody that has the ability and make-up to be the closer is tough. He’s very well suited for that, so that makes it a huge loss. We got to find a guy that can step in and finish games for us.”

As a freshman, Weld led the Salukis in wins (5-4) and strikeouts (57) in 2010. He threw 58.2 innings in 29 appearances and had two saves on the year. He was expected to move into the closer role that opened with the graduation of Bryant George, SIU’s all-time leader in saves.

“Missing this year is big because I feel like we have a good team that will really compete and get back to the NCAA Tournament,” Weld said. “I still plan on helping out all the new guys we have coming in and providing leadership and support to the team.”

The Salukis still have 12 pitchers on the roster, but only four of which are returning letterwinners. Sophomores Aaron Snyder and Cody Forsythe along with junior college transfer Cameron Maldonado look to anchor the Saluki pitching staff in 2011.

Southern Illinois is currently going through individual workouts and can start its preparing for the season as a team on Friday, Jan. 28. SIU’s season-opening weekend is Feb. 18-20, when the Salukis travel to Ruston, La. to participate in the Louisiana Tech Tournament.

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