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Sollmann could be out for rest of season

Chris Federico | Monday, April 5, 2004

No. 5 Notre Dame got a couple of big wins Saturday over Villanova, but they also lost a big player when second baseman Steve Sollmann went down with a broken jaw in the fifth inning of the opening game. The senior tri-captain was chasing down a ball in shallow right field when he collided with teammate Cody Rizzo.Sollmann also suffered a concussion on the play, and the game was stopped as an ambulance came on the field to carry Sollmann off to the hospital.Irish coach Paul Mainieri stated Sollmann was discharged from the hospital Sunday morning and traveled with his family to a hospital in his hometown Cincinnati. He will undergo surgery on his fractured jaw today, and his prognosis for a return to the Irish this season is unknown.”When the injury happened, I was just glad he was alive and could walk and move his arms. The last thing on my mind was him playing again for us,” Mainieri said. “… But then [Saturday] night, the word people were telling me is that people can come back in five to six weeks from a broken jaw.”And if anybody can do it, it would be Sollmann. He’s the toughest kid I’ve known.”Until that time, Mainieri says he plans for senior reserve Zach Sisko to see time at second base in place of Sollmann. The Irish skipper says he will also consider moving catcher Javi Sanchez – who started at third base this year against Penn State on March 8 – out from behind the plate and using the senior captain at second base.”I’m still toying with the possibility of maybe putting Javi [Sanchez] out there and catching with [freshman catcher] Sean Gaston,” Mainieri said. “[Gaston] was not available to us this weekend, because Thursday night, he had a badly sprained thumb [against Hillsdale College]. We’ll see how [Gaston’s] thumb comes around, and we’ll probably get [Sanchez] a little work there.”During the 2002 season, Sanchez came off the bench for the Irish to play shortstop for the remainder of the season in place of injured starters Matt Macri and Matt Edwards. The senior was actually recruited out of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami as an infielder and had not played catcher until the start of the 2003 season with Notre Dame.But until Gaston’s thumb heals and he could take over for Sanchez at catcher, Mainieri says he has confidence in Sisko to handle the starting role at second.”And we’ll continue to play Zach [Sisko], and I have a lot of confidence in him,” Mainieri said. “I think he did a good job [Sunday], and if that’s the way we go, then we’ll be fine.”