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 Heisman Trophy and Biletnikoff Award.
Arkansas first baseman sidelined with hand injury
Arkansas infielder Jared Gates bats during a scrimmage Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas will be without its projected starting first baseman until after the start of conference play.
Jared Gates broke his hand during an at-bat in the Razorbacks' final preseason scrimmage Sunday and will miss at least five weeks with the injury, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said Monday. Gates transferred to the Razorbacks in the off-season from Iowa Western Community College.
"He was my hottest hitter this spring," Van Horn said. "Better now than later. We'll get it fixed and hopefully he'll be ready to go close to conference play. He's definitely not going to play for a while."
Gates had been the leader in a first base position battle that included junior Chad Spanberger and freshman Jordan McFarland.
Spanberger likely will start at first when Arkansas opens the season Friday against Miami (Ohio). Spanberger, who has played games at first and in right field, had been practicing as the team's third baseman this spring.
Hunter Wilson, a transfer from Eastern Oklahoma State Junior College, could start at third base. Wilson had been a frontrunner at third during the fall because of his defense, but had fallen behind on the depth chart because of a lack of productivity at the plate.
Other options at third include freshmen Jaxon Williams and Matt Burch.
Jeremy Muck contributed
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