Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013 AT 3:59 PM / Updated at 4:06 PM
Baseball: Nebraska’s top starting pitcher out this week
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Junior right-hander Christian DeLeon (elbow soreness) will miss Nebraska’s final series of the regular season against Michigan, a tough blow for a team that needs a strong finish.

DeLeon left early during Friday’s start at Minnesota after warming up to start the seventh inning.

Said coach Darin Erstad: “I saw him start to really kind of pace around the mound. His whole tempo went down in his warm-up pitches. … He said he was a little bit sore.” But there is nothing “structurally wrong” with the arm, Erstad said.

DeLeon will be re-evaluated after he pitches a bullpen session this weekend.

Nebraska’s new starting rotation against Michigan: LHP Kyle Kubat, LHP Aaron Bummer and RHP Tyler Niederklein. The Huskers (with some help) do still have a legitimate shot at the Big Ten regular season title. And an auto bid to a NCAA Regional is up for grabs at the Big Ten tournament in Minneapolis next week.

Won’t be easy for NU without DeLeon, though. His style isn’t flashy (Big Ten hitters are batting .311 off him and his ERA in conference action is 4.37).

But here’s what is important: DeLeon has thrown at least six innings in six of his seven Big Ten starts, saving most of the pitching staff’s more reliable arms for the back-half of the weekend series. Oh, and Nebraska’s 6-1 in Big Ten series openers this season. Last year, the Huskers started conference play 1-4 on Friday nights (until Kubat emerged in May).

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: jon.nyatawa@owh.com. He welcomes feedback.