UMaine’s Fransoso may face further surgery

Posted Aug. 15, 2011, at 1:59 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 15, 2011, at 11:30 p.m.

Michael Fransoso didn’t allow hip surgery and an undiagnosed sports hernia to keep him from playing for the University of Maine baseball team in 2011.

The sophomore shortstop was the linchpin of the infield as coach Steve Trimper’s Black Bears (33-24) won the America East Conference championship and earned a trip to the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional.

Fransoso’s resolve and patience are likely to be tested again prior to the 2012 season.

The slick-fielding shortstop from Portsmouth, N.H., arrived Monday in Nashville, Tenn., where he will be evaluated Tuesday for continued hip pain and stiffness. He will have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests done on the hips Tuesday at the office of Dr. Thomas Byrd.

“They said there is a chance they might not even do surgery,” said an upbeat Fransoso. “If they want to do surgery on either one, they’ll do it Wednesday.”

The Jan. 5 surgery performed by Dr. Byrd involved shaving down a piece of bone that was rubbing and causing a cartilage tear in Fransoso’s right hip. It appeared to be a congenital condition, he said.

Fransoso isn’t sure the extent of his hip issues. He said the right hip never felt 100 percent healthy after the surgery, and he admittedly made a speedy return to the field.

The left hip started bothering him at the NCAA Regional in North Carolina.

“With all the games and all the wear and tear, something went wrong,” said Fransoso, who on Aug. 8 also had surgery to repair a sports hernia.

“It’s been very frustrating,” he said. “I haven’t been able to do much.”

Fransoso is coming off a solid summer with Old Orchard Beach of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Fransoso, who was named to the Eastern Division all-star squad, batted .276 with one home run, 11 runs batted in and eight stolen bases.

He appeared in 33 of the Raging Tide’s 42 games and committed 10 errors in 161 chances. OOB went 9-33.

Fransoso worked his way back after the hip surgery and went through recovery, treatment and rehabilitation rather quickly. He returned to the lineup during UMaine’s Florida trip in March and wound up playing in 49 of the Bears’ 59 games, starting 47.

Fransoso ranked third on the team with a .316 batting average and was second with 43 runs scored. He stole 19 bases in 21 attempts and laid down a team-best eight sacrifice bunts.

He finished with five homers, 33 RBIs and a team-leading 16 doubles — and a hernia.

Fransoso, who was named to the All-America East second team at shortstop, capped his spring by earning a spot on the Chapel Hill All-Regional Team.

While he had hoped to spend the offseason lifting weights to get stronger, Fransoso may instead be watching from the dugout.

“There’s a good chance that we’re going to take him this fall and just sit him and rest him,” Trimper said.

UMaine women picked 3rd in poll

The UMaine women’s soccer team has been selected to finish tied for third in the America East preseason coaches poll released Monday.

Four-time defending champion Boston University is the favorite, garnering all eight first-place votes and 64 points in the voting of AE head coaches.

UMaine and Albany were tied for third with 39 points behind No. 2 Stony Brook, which netted one first-place vote and 56 points. New Hampshire (36), Hartford (35), Binghamton (26), Maryland Baltimore County (17) and Vermont (12) rounded out the poll.

Coach Scott Atherley’s Black Bears competed in the AE title game last season after posting a 9-9 overall record.

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