TCU baseball will be without these two key players when Big 12 play starts Friday

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle feels good about where his team is at heading into Big 12 play, riding a four-game winning streak going into this weekend’s series against Texas at Lupton Stadium.

The one caveat, though, is that “I wish we were healthier.”

Namely outfielder Porter Brown and right-hander Jared Janczak. The only good injury news coming after TCU’s 5-3 victory over UT-Arlington on Tuesday night is that Hunter Wolfe is expected to be ready to go by Friday.

But Schlossnagle didn’t sound optimistic about Brown’s availability the rest of this season.

The freshman from San Antonio is dealing with a shoulder injury, and the latest is that there is “extensive damage.” Brown and his family will make the final determination how to proceed, but the best case scenario is Brown being ready in three to four weeks.

Brown’s season could be over too.

“We’ll see,” Schlossnagle said.

Brown’s injury is a blow to TCU’s lineup. He’s started 16 games this season, batting .279 with three doubles and three RBIs. He’s been successful on seven of eight stolen base attempts.

Brown earned Big 12 newcomer of the week honors for the week for Feb. 18.

As far as Janczak, the Frogs are shutting him down for the time being. He’s been battling with his delivery and arm angle coming back from multiple surgeries last offseason.

This is a necessity, Schlossnagle said, considering Janczak has a 7.94 ERA over four starts, compared to his career ERA of 2.83.

“We can’t keep doing what we’re doing,” Schlossnagle said. “We’re trying to find the right recipe.”

Schlossnagle said Janczak could return in “maybe a couple weeks.” The biggest hurdle for Janczak is getting his ability to sink the baseball back.

Right now, Janczak is cutting the ball instead of having it sink. His velocity is slightly down, in the 87-90 mph range, but he should be able to get outs at that velocity if he’s able to sink the ball as he’s done in previous years.

With Janczak sidelined for now, TCU is still searching for a reliable starter to complement Nick Lodolo and Brandon Williamson.

The Frogs will start Lodolo, their top pitcher, on Friday followed by Jake Eissler on Saturday and Williamson on Sunday.

Eissler remains a work-in-progress going from reliever to starter, but Schlossnagle is hopeful the transition will be a success.

For Schlossnagle, though, the No. 1 priority for the pitching staff is doing a better job getting the ball from the starters to closer Marcelo Perez.

“The bridge to Perez has to be cleaner,” Schlossnagle said. “Augie [Mihlbauer] has been good two times in a row. Cal [Coughlin] has work to do to find his breaking ball. If we can get that going, then I like our chances.”

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