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I would appreciate some opinion and/or stories of past experience. My son is a freshman pitcher at a DIII. After the fall season, he had made the travel roster and had an excellent chance at a spot in the starting rotation. While working out over Christmas, he suffered an elbow injury and went through rehab. He should be cleared to pitch sometime this week.

Here is my question. His coach suggested that he consider red shirting. I know that there are many issues to consider, including the idea of paying for a 5th year of college. The coach has been very supportive, and is willing to consider son's wishes in making his final decision. The coach wants to have a meeting with all of us (son & parents) after he is officially cleared to discuss his decision. Has anyone had any experience with red shirting at a DIII? What are some of the other issues we should be considering?

Thank you.
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While working out over Christmas, he suffered an elbow injury and went through rehab. He should be cleared to pitch sometime this week.

With the season well underway and being a freshman coming off rehabilitation he could aggravate the arm after participating in a modest number of innings. The coach has a good idea how many innings he might get with the remaining season. Find out and determine if the risk is worth the reward at this point? That's something he'll have to decide. How confident is he that the injury is totally healed? Is he game ready? If he red shirts he could continue to travel with the team and throw simulated games and bullpens. To me, the fact that the coach brought it up would suggest he seriously consider it. And he could be eligible if he decides to attend a fifth year. If I were him, part of me would be biting at the bit to get out there and show them what I can do. That part of me would be arguing with the logical part of me that says to take it easy and make sure you are ready before you compete.
D III only has medical redshirts, not the elective type as used at D II and DIII. Coming back from surgery always takes longer than a player would like, and pitchers especially need to be guided by those with expertise so they don't over do things too soon.

It can be a big help academically as needed classes can be spaced over 5 years, not 4. You've already seen how busy these guys are in season and the ability to take a lighter load each spring can be very helpful.

It makes for a long season but if he's playing D III, they're almost done now anyway-some start their conference tournaments this week. It will make him more anxious to play summer ball, but the worst part is behind him as most of the season is done, and it would be doubtful he'd get real meaningful innings the rest of the way.

I think PA Dino has hit the nail on the head. While the Dr or team may clear your is a totally different matter whether he can be effective and contribute to the team at this point in the season. As the season winds down, there is probably some idea of starting pitching, middle or long relief, setup and closers pitching roles. Is it really worth it for your freshmen son to try to break into one of these roles to pitch a few innings...? Your son probably has a good idea what pitching role he would fill, and how many innings he might see. Team record, and post season situation may also factor into this. If they make the post-season would he be on the roster? Just some ideas to throw out there as my son is also a freshmen pitcher.

Also, I would heavily weigh the coach's advice in this situation. He has probably been in this situation before. Good luck!
Last edited by fenwaysouth
Thank you all for your insightful opinions. There are a few things I would like to clarify. To PA Dino, my son did not need surgery, just rehab. He started with a throwing program in early February, and has been throwing bullpen sessions for a few weeks. He is up to 90 pitches at 100% strength. He feels great, and is confident that the injury is not an issue. As far as being game ready, his pitch count seems to be up there, but I haven't seen him throw, so I don't know where is control is. His coach has seen him throw, and says that he looks good.

The team has a little over a month of league games left, and then the post season. They are pretty much a lock for the league tournament. They are highly ranked nationally, so there is a decent chance of lenghty post season play.

Whether or not he would be able to compete is the coach's judgement. He must have thought that my son could contribute if he wanted him to compete for a starting spot. I know, there are league starters and non-league starters, I think we have to find out what role the coach would see for him for the rest of the year. Before the injury, he would have been on the travel squad, but because of the large roster size, several players do not travel. To top it off, he has picked up 3-4 mph on his fastball, and is anxious to get out there and show what he can do!

He is a good student, and while spreading 4 yrs of classes over 5 yrs would be helpful, I don't think it would be entirely necessary. He has kept up with his classes and managed to keep his gpa over 3.0.

Again, thank you for your input. I am probably leaning towards red shirting, but I am looking forward to getting more information from the coach and my son.
Just wanted to update those of you who have contributed to my posts and following along with my son's progress. Thursday he made the decision to play and not to red shirt. He made the decision on his own, after talking to to us and his coach. He pitched 2 innings in a jv game and did very well. Only faced 6 batters, 2k, 2 ground ball outs, 1 clean single, 1 error, both base runners thrown out trying to steal. His fastball was at 87 on the radar gun, just a mile or two below where he was in the fall. He is waiting to hear if he will be part of the varsity traveling squad for the rest of the year.

Again, thank you for your support and suggestions.

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