Vanderbilt RHP’s Ethan Smith and Sam Hliboki were considered two of the Commodores biggest weapons coming out of the bullpen going into the 2021 campaign. Unfortunately, this has not quite been the case. This season, Smith is just 1-0 with a 3.09 in only 7 appearances on the year. After taking time off due to Covid protocols, Vandy fans have been stuck wondering when the right hander may be coming back.
Fortunately for Vandy fans, the Covid concerns are no longer an issue for Smith but, his arm is still bothering him. A source close to the team chimed in “He is having some arm issues and not available to pitch at the moment.” While it doesn’t look good for Smith as of now, having him back for the stretch run of the postseason would be very beneficial to the depth of the pitching staff.
Meanwhile, on Hliboki’s end, an update still has not been provided on his arm injury suffered in mid-April vs Georgia. Hliboki has registered a 2.70 ERA in just 9 appearances and also has 2 saves on the season. The situation for Hliboki doesn’t look pretty at all, either. The lingering and continuous waiting for an update is not a good recipe for a return after an arm injury that looked pretty serious.
The return of Smith and Hliboki could decide how deep of a run the Vandyboys make in the upcoming postseason. The pitching depth looked pretty shaky this weekend on the road against Florida and getting these two quality arms back would go a long way for this team.