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.
Three out for Missouri series
Arkansas designated hitter Blake Baxendale heads to first after hitting a double during the second inning against Vanderbilt Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas will be without three players for this week's series at Missouri.
Catcher/designated hitter Blake Baxendale (hamstring) and pitcher Jalen Beeks (elbow) will miss a second straight weekend, while shortstop Brett McAfee (back) won't travel with the team. McAfee hasn't played since April 1, though coach Dave Van Horn said two weeks ago McAfee might be able to return for the regular season finale.
"It's still the same," Van Horn said Tuesday. "The back is not in great shape."
Baxendale, who is batting .290 this season and has been one of the team's best hitters during conference play, injured his hamstring May 4 at Ole Miss. He had a noticeable limp during the team's practice Tuesday.
"He's still pretty stiff," Van Horn said. "We knew it was going to be a week-plus, and it's been a week-plus. I don't see him playing this weekend. I think he might be ready to play in the tournament. Hopefully we'll get him back."
Beeks is being held out of the team's starting rotation because of soreness in his throwing elbow. Beeks has pitched 76 2/3 innings this season and is 5-4 with a 2.89 earned run average.
"He's going to start playing catch tomorrow on flat ground and through the weekend," Van Horn said. "If we can get into that tournament and stay in it for a while, you'll probably see him if all goes well."
Arkansas will start Trey Killian on Thursday and Chris Oliver on Friday against the Tigers. Van Horn said the team's Saturday starter won't be named until after Friday's game.