Baseball notebook: January 31

At a baseball media event today, coach Mike Fox and several of the UNC baseball players talked to the media about the upcoming season, which begins Feb. 14 against the College of Charleston. Here are some of the notes from the day:

Young infield is the biggest concern
Fox said North Carolina’s infield was the biggest defensive question mark for the team this year. After looking at the changes that will come in between the bases this year, it’s not surprising why that is.

The only returning regular infield position player is junior shortstop Michael Russell. Landon Lassiter is expected to take the primary third base duties after Colin Moran was taken in the first round of the MLB draft, Korey Dunbar will be the new starting catcher, Joe Dudek has won the team’s starting first base spot, and Fox said he doesn’t know who will start at second base. Freshman infielder Wood Myers is considered one of the favorites to land this spot, though, and Fox mentioned him as one of the incoming players who would have an impact on the team and play right away.

Players think No. 17 is too low, Fox not concerned
Several players said they thought the Tar Heels were ranked too low in Baseball America’s recent preseason rankings (UNC was ranked No. 17). Trent Thornton said he thinks the Tar Heels are a top-10 or top-15 team. Center fielder Skye Bolt also mentioned the ranking but said he doesn’t pay attention to those kinds of things. He did note the difference in being ranked lower this season and No. 1 a season before and said it puts a chip on the team’s shoulders.

Fox said he didn’t worry about the rankings, but he thought No. 17 was about right. He said he did like the fact that players were disappointed with it, though. He said he wants them to play like they are the best team in the country.

Weather limiting preparation
Fox said the Tar Heels weren’t where he expected them to be at this point in the offseason because they haven’t been able to take the field as much as they’ve wanted to. There was snow outside of the foul lines Friday afternoon. However, Bolt said the weather wasn’t an excuse to not be ready for the season because of the great facilities that the team has at its disposal.

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