Seth Mejias-Brean has played the entire season with a brace on his right wrist and a pained look on his face.
"If I had a dollar for every time I've seen him wince after an at-bat, making contact or getting a hit, I'd be a wealthy man," UA coach Andy Lopez said.
Mejias-Brean has debilitating wrist inflammation, an injury that will require surgery as soon as the season is over. Until then, the Cienega High School product will tough it out - even if the pain when he flexes and straightens his wrist is wince-inducing.
Mejias-Brean, 20, will start at third base and hit ninth when the Wildcats open a three-game series today at Washington State. Arizona (30-16, 9-9 Pac-10) can earn a favorable spot in the NCAA regionals by winning at least five of its nine remaining games.
Here's how Mejias-Brean plans to contribute down the stretch:
• With his glove. Mejias-Brean played shortstop in high school and, as a result, has more range than most third basemen in the Pac-10. He hasn't made an error since April 3; during that time, he's had 35 assists. He made a half-dozen stellar plays in last week's nonconference-series sweep of Alcorn State. His defense is key for a team that relies on pitching.
• With his bat. Mejias-Brean's injury most affects his hitting, though he seems to be improving as the season goes on. His batting average has jumped from .265 to .288 in the last five games; during that time, he's gone 8 for 17 with six RBIs and four runs scored. "It's been a tough adjustment," he said of his offensive struggles. "I don't even think about it anymore."
• In the clubhouse. Mejias-Brean's off-the-field presence is so positive that his teammates call him "Tebow," a reference to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. The Dallas Cowboys fan said he takes it as a compliment. A pre-business major, he's won the UA's scholar-athlete of the week award as a freshman, and is one of the team's best students as a sophomore. "I'm making sure I do everything by the book," he said.
• What: Arizona at Washington St.
• Today: 2 p.m.
• Sunday: Noon
• Monday: 5:30 p.m.