FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas pitcher Jalen Beeks will not be in the starting rotation for this weekend’s series against Texas A&M. It doesn’t sound as if he’ll be back on the mound for the final regular season series at Missouri, either.
The Razorbacks (30-20, 11-13 in SEC) announced Wednesday morning that Beeks is “skipping” his start for this weekend’s series against 20th-ranked Texas A&M (30-19, 12-12 in SEC). Trey Killian will remain Arkansas’ starter for Friday’s opener, while Chris Oliver will move to Saturday with Sunday’s starter to be named later.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said Monday the Razorbacks planned to evaluate Beeks this week after the left-hander was experiencing arm soreness. He and pitching coach Dave Jorn believed Beeks was wearing down after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings against Ole Miss last Saturday.
Van Horn wasn’t available for comment Wednesday, but told Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly the Razorbacks plan to give Beeks two weeks of rest in hopes he’ll be ready for the SEC Tournament if Arkansas qualifies for the 12-team field.
“Hopefully we’ll make the tournament and hopefully get to play beyond that,” Van Horn said. “I think he’ll be back if we get into the tournament or possibly into a regional, or possibly a few games into the tournament.”
Beeks (5-4, 2.11 ERA), who was Arkansas’ opening-day starter, is tied with Oliver for the team lead in starts (12). The junior has thrown a team-high 76 2/3 innings, including two complete games in his 12 starts.
Only three other pitchers on Arkansas’ roster have starting experience this season.
Left-hander Colin Poche (3-0, 1.60 ERA) has started seven games, while right-hander Alex Phillips (3-0, 2.33 ERA) has eight starts. Right-hander James Teague – who has only appeared in six games this season – also has one start.
Arkansas still isn’t sure if it will have either catcher available for the weekend series against the Aggies, either. Jake Wise (concussion) and Blake Baxendale (hamstring) are still trying to recover from injuries sustained at Ole Miss.
Van Horn said on the Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly that Baxendale is “questionable” right now and may only be available to pinch hit this weekend. Wise has not yet been cleared to return from the concussion, which would leave freshman Alex Gosser as a candidate to play in opener despite Arkansas’ plans to redshirt him.
Arkansas also could use pitcher Jackson Lowery and outfielder Tyler Spoon. Lowery caught the final inning at Ole Miss and Spoon was a catcher in high school.