Arizona freshman shortstop Shelby Pendley.


Shelby Pendley, her coach jokes, must take her bat bag to bed with her.

"If she was a basketball player, she'd be a gym rat," Mike Candrea said.

If Pendley played baseball, she'd eventually sleep in a mansion.

"If she was a guy, she'd be making a lot of money some day - but unfortunately she's not," the coach said.

"I'm glad she's not, because she wouldn't be here."

What Pendley is, is hurt.

The freshman's injured back and bad knees might be the only negative the positive-thinking the No. 13-seeded Arizona Wildcats could find Tuesday.

Today, they fly to Norman, Okla., where they'll play the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners in the NCAA tournament's super regional round starting Friday.

Pendley - who is hitting .339 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs - said the injuries make it "a little bit tougher to bend down." As such, the UA has limited the number of in-practice ground balls she takes at shortstop.

"It's tougher to move," she said, "but I'm still able to."

Pendley's injuries have been the same for a while, but pain increased the past month. The only way to feel better is to not play, but Pendley won't sit out.

"Even with the injuries and not being 100 percent, she's still pretty damn good," Candrea said. "I tip my hat to a kid like that."

Here's a look at what's bothering the shortstop:


Diagnosis: Tough and headstrong, the way Candrea likes it.

About it: "She's a competitor, and she likes to play the game," Candrea said. "It's great - It's something that I think this team really needed. If there's one thing I felt, in the past few years, we didn't have that."

Lower back

Diagnosis: Protrusion in two discs and, confirmed by doctors Tuesday, a fracture in one vertebrae.

About it: "Really, it's the left side of my back that hurts; it's no excuse for the way I've been hitting," Pendley said. "I've never experienced this before. "I always see my dad; he's on his third back surgery. … Now I have a slight part of what he's had, and it's pretty bad. It's not comfortable at all."

Right hip

Diagnosis: Flies open too quickly when she swings, a result of overcompensation from injuries.

About it: "I wouldn't blame it on the back," Pendley said. "It's an injury. You have to deal with it."


Diagnosis: They tense up, in part because the back pain makes it hard to bend over.

About it: In the dugout between innings last weekend, trainers kept her hamstrings and glutes loose, Pendley said, by "stretching me. rubbing some Tiger Balm to keep the muscles warm. It seemed to help."


Diagnosis: Had anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament surgery on her right knee July 21; had two meniscus surgeries on her left knee, the most recent in 2010.

About it: The left knee "will get MRI'd after the season," she said.

Left shin

Diagnosis: Stress fracture earlier in the season.

About it: "Some other girls get them, too," Pendley said. "I think it's the cleats pounding on a hard field."

NCAA tournament

• Super regional: Arizona vs. Oklahoma at Norman, Okla.


• Game 1: 11 a.m. Friday, ESPNU

• Game 2: 9 a.m. Saturday, ESPN

• Game 3: 11:30 a.m. Saturday, ESPN, if necessary