Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Baxendale to miss 2013 after Tommy John surgery
Blake Baxendale is congratulated after scoring a run in the 2012 Class 7A state championship game at Baum Stadium.
FAYETTEVILLE Blake Baxendale, a freshman catcher at Arkansas, underwent Tommy John surgery Wednesday to repair an injury to his throwing elbow.
Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said Baxendale will redshirt the 2013 season, but should be able to play summer ball. Recovery time from the surgery is significantly shorter for position players than pitchers, who are often sidelined 12 to 15 months.
Baxendale will play his first season for Arkansas in 2014. He had worked as a back-up catcher and designated hitter during the Razorbacks' fall practices earlier this year.
As a senior at Rogers Heritage High School, Baxendale batted .467 with 6 home runs and 30 RBIs. He helped the War Eagles to a state runner-up finish in Arkansas' largest classification and was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette player of the year.
He is the younger brother of former Arkansas starting pitcher DJ Baxendale, who was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 10th round of this year's MLB Draft.