After spending a season at first base, Alyssa Palomino is ready to move back to her natural position.
The redshirt sophomore tweeted Wednesday that she is “determined to be in the outfield again.”
Palomino was moved from centerfield to first base this past season after she suffered her second ACL tear in three years last May.
Determined to be in the outfield again— Alyssa Palomino (@lysssscat32) July 11, 2018
But would moving her back to the outfield benefit Arizona in 2019? It would certainly ease some concerns about the position.
The Wildcats are losing starting outfielders Ashleigh Hughes and Aleah Craighton to graduation, leaving them with plenty of question marks out there.
Palomino would bring veteran leadership to a group that will be, barring any transfers, on the youthful side with sophomores and/or freshmen patrolling the area.
Her tutelage to Carli Campbell and Jenna Kean would serve well as the two soon-to-be sophomores started games in the outfield last season and have a good chance to be full-time starters in 2019.
And moving Palomino wouldn’t leave a void at first base since head coach Mike Candrea could look to soon-to-be seniors Joelle Krist and Missouri transfer Rylee Pierce to take over the position.
Krist has 33 career starts at first, while Pierce was a three-year starter and second-team All-SEC at Missouri.
Since Pierce is eligible to play next season, it’s logical to picture her getting a hearty amount of playing time since it will be her senior year and she isn’t transferring to UA to cheer from the dugout.
With three quality players vying at first, the logjam could be solved by moving Palomino back to the outfield—maybe at one of the corner spots —and having her talent and leadership flourish.
Of course, the Wildcats have to determine if it’s worth putting Palomino’s health at risk. She was their best player last season, becoming the 100th All-American in program history.
But as UA fans found out this past season, she is a determined athlete. She came back after her second ACL tear to lead the Pac-12 in home runs, so it’s not far fetched to think she can return to the outfield and excel.