Fisher Still Weeks Away from Return to UVa Lineup

The Virginia baseball team has managed just fine without junior outfielder Derek Fisher -- which is good, since it will probably be a few more weeks before he's back in the Cavalier lineup.

Fisher has been out since breaking the hamate bone in his right wrist during the Cavaliers' ACC-opening series at Duke in mid-March. He was originally expected to miss four to six weeks after having surgery on the wrist, and this week UVa coach Brian O'Connor estimated the junior outfielder wouldn't return for at least three or four more weeks.

"We're doing fine without him," O'Connor said this week. "We'd love to have him in there. He has a lot of pride, and Derek's a great player. But when he gets back I think it will be a good jolt to our lineup."

Fisher had started UVa's first 14 games in left field prior to the injury, hitting .333 with four doubles and seven RBI. He entered the year as a preseason first-team All-American, according to Baseball America.

The Cavaliers improved to 13-1 without Fisher in the lineup with Tuesday's 7-1 win over Old Dominion at Davenport Field. Mike Papi started in left field for UVa for the eighth consecutive game.

"We've been able to overcome Derek Fisher being injured with the versatility that we've had with our position players," O'Connor said.

Papi, who began the season as UVa's everyday first baseman, has started 10 of 14 games in left field in Fisher's absence. Rob Bennie has started the other four.

"Before (Fisher) got hurt, Nick Howard really wasn't playing first base at all. He was DH'ing some," O'Connor said. "And now he's been in the lineup every day, and he's done a nice job. And it was an easy transition, moving Mike Papi out to left field."

"So quite frankly, I don't think that we've missed a beat. I just think that when Derek does get back, it'll give us some more options, and add some more depth to what we have."

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