Kier Meredith battled a plethora of injuries since arriving on campus at Clemson in the fall of 2017. But this season he feels healthier than at any point in his college career.
Clemson, which started practice on Friday, enters 2020 without much attention after it lost five position starters and most of its offensive production from last season when it finished 11th nationally in home runs before an early exit from the NCAA Tournament in the Oxford (Miss.) Regional.
Now, a healthy Meredith hopes to provide a jump start at the top of the order to aid the Tigers offensively and strengthen the outfield.
In his freshman season, Meredith tore his labrum in fall camp but returned in the middle of the year and jolted the Tigers with an impressive series at Notre Dame before he tweaked the injury at Wake Forest when he slammed into the outfield wall and missed the rest of the season.
Last year, as a sophomore, he pulled his quad early in the season against the Fighting Irish and as he began to recover, tweaked the same quad and missed the majority of the season again due to injury.
“It’s definitely been frustrating, but I’ve learned how to take things and ride,” Meredith said. “You deal with ups and downs in life, so I’ve just been pushing.”
After increased time with the training staff during the off-season Meredith can confidently say he is ready to play. And, while he refrained from changing his workout routine, he stressed the importance of stretching and putting in extra work into recovery after practices and games.
“I haven’t changed any preparation as far as the workouts go but I definitely put a lot more work and time into the pre-hab with more stretching,” Meredith said. “I do more stretching after practice and ice my body down and I’ll even use the hot tub before games to stay loose and recover well.”
Clemson head coach Monte Lee knows Meredith can change the lineup when he’s healthy and feels the junior is game ready. But the main focus of the coaching staff is to keep him on the field and healthy.
“He is certainly a difference maker. Kier is an above average runner and has great instincts on the bases. He looks really good right now and we have to manage his workload because we have our fingers crossed that we can keep him healthy,” Lee said. “So far he looks really good and we have to make sure when we aren’t playing that we take care of him and monitor his workload often.
“He has put a lot of effort into his practices to be game ready and he is running at 100-percent right now and he looks good doing it.”
Clemson returns to the diamond in just three short weeks as it hosts Liberty in a three-game series at Doug Kingsmore Stadium from Feb. 14-16 to open up the 2020 season.
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