Arizona Softball

Ms. Teflon: UA’s Carranco ready for what’s ahead

Mike Candrea isn’t sure if Reyna Carranco is a card player, but if she was, he feels she’d be a good one.

“Reyna is kind of a funny kid,” Candrea said, “because she’s such a flatliner. She’s a great card player I’d imagine because you don’t know (what she’s thinking). She doesn’t show a lot of emotion. But down deep she’s a competitor and down deep she wants to play and help this team.”

Reyna Carranco (ESPN screen shot)

He chalked it up to women having a “high pain tolerance” on her returning so quickly, given her injury occurred just two weeks ago. He’s seen it before. Alicia Hollowell got hit in the face and came back to pitch. Ashley Hughes got hurt and returned to form.

“I saw her when she got hurt (and thought) if she can do it, I can do it,” Carranco said, of Hughes’ injury.

Wasn’t it just last year when Carranco suffered a concussion, broken nose and concussion after taking a 70-mile-per-hour pitch to the face?

What he does know is she’s as tough as a airplanes black box and, well, someone he undeniably wants – needs? – in his lineup.

How could he not, given she is one of the nation’s best hitters, swinging for a .432 average with a team-leading 70 hits?

“At this stage of the game,” Candrea said, “you need to have all the weapons you can. It definitely helps us … it was a big boost to get her back. An emotional boost for all of us. For me it was.”

And, two weeks ahead of schedule. What she made of, Teflon? Candrea said he wasn’t sure what would happen after Carranco suffered a broken bone in her left hand and a broken right thumb. The timeline had her out at least four weeks.

“I wasn’t counting on it; we were moving forward with the ol’ next-man-up attitude,” Candrea said. “We knew we’d be day-to-day, and we didn’t know when that day would come. And it came sooner than we thought.”

She said she wasn’t going to let the timetable “stop me from doing what I can do.”

Will we see her on the field? Last week she was the designated hitter.

“I think I am,” she said, of being ready to return to second base.

Candrea said, “I don’t know. We will see.”

He said that’s her biggest challenge, being able to close her glove on ground balls hit away from her.

He’s put it on Carranco to make the call on how she feels.

She said she clearly feels better, thankful for her two hits last weekend in her standing-ovation return and for feeling more comfortable at the plate.

“I think (it was) more mental,” she said about her return. “Physically, I’m always going to feel some kind of pain, but mentally I’m going to have to get over it.”

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