ORONO, Maine — University of Maine sophomore right-hander Justin Courtney has been bothered by tendinitis in his right shoulder this season, but he expects to be available to pitch on a limited basis for the Black Bears during the six-team, double-elimination America East Tournament this weekend in Lowell, Massachusetts.
UMaine faces Stony Brook in their opener at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at LeLacheur Park.
Former Bangor High School three-sports star Courtney pitched for the first time since April 9 on Saturday at Binghamton and was touched up for four hits and four runs in one inning. He struck out one, walked one and threw 28 pitches, 20 for strikes.
Despite the rough outing, Courtney was encouraged.
“That inning felt good although it was kind of a bad result,” Courtney said Monday. “I got ahead of every batter, but toward the end of the at-bats, I didn’t put my pitches exactly where I needed to.
“But it was a good step moving forward. I was able to shake the rust off,” he added. “They said my velocity was at 90-91.”
Courtney, a freshman All-American a year ago, threw all of his pitches: fastball, cutter/slider and curve.
“And [my shoulder] responded well to all of them,” he said. “My shoulder is a little sore today, but that’s to be expected after not having pitched for over a month.”
“He had his stuff working. He looked good,” said senior catcher Kevin Stypulkowski. “It was good to get him out there before the tournament.”
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Courtney had an exceptional freshman season, compiling a team-best 3.24 earned run average and a 5-6 record. He was named to the All-America East second team and the league’s All-Rookie Team.
He allowed just two earned runs in his first three starts this season covering 18 innings against Clemson, New Mexico State and Miami (Florida) but, after his seventh start, against the New York Institute of Technology on April 9, he knew something was wrong.
“My shoulder didn’t feel right,” he said. “They told me there was nothing structurally wrong, but my shoulder was a little overused. So I didn’t throw for two weeks.”
He had physical therapy and worked on “building the muscles back up.”
“We’ve worked out routines to make sure it never happens again,” said Courtney, who expects to be used in relief.