Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Van Horn updates status of several injured Razorbacks
Arkansas outfielder Jared Wegner (11) walks to first, Tuesday, April 11, 2023 during the first inning of a baseball game at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville. Visit nwaonline.com/photos for today's photo gallery.......(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn indicated Monday that outfielders Jared Wegner and Tavian Josenberger will return from injuries by the end of the regular season later this month.
Wegner, the left fielder, has been out since suffering a fractured thumb April 11 against Arkansas-Little Rock. Josenberger, a center fielder, injured his hamstring during a game at Georgia on April 22.
Josenberger hit leadoff and Wegner batted third for most of the season before the injuries. Despite not hitting the past 11 games, Wegner has a team-high 44 RBI and has the team's second-best batting average of .351. Josenberger leads the team with nine stolen bases and his 40 runs led the team at the time of his injury.
Speaking at the final Swatter's Club meeting of the year, Van Horn said Wegner will have pins removed from his surgically repaired left thumb next Monday.
"This is what I was told — and he's tough as nails, believe me — when he gets those pins out, it's all up to him and how much pain he can tolerate," Van Horn said. "I imagine he'll be playing [next] Monday afternoon somewhere. I'm hoping he'll be able to play that next weekend [against South Carolina], but if not, for sure the next one [at Vanderbilt]."
Arkansas is scheduled to play No. 4 South Carolina three times beginning May 12 in Fayetteville. The series at No. 5 Vanderbilt is scheduled to begin May 18.
Josenberger might be able to play by the South Carolina series, Van Horn said, but is more likely to be ready to return the following week.
"Maybe not South Carolina, but probably for sure Vandy — we'll see how it turns out," Van Horn said. "That's just the way it is physically for him. We're working really hard to get it right."
In other injury news, Van Horn said right-handed relief pitcher Dylan Carter was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday that would reveal whether he has a torn ligament in his throwing elbow. Carter has experienced soreness after his last two outings, most recently against Texas A&M last Thursday.
If the MRI reveals no tear, Van Horn said Carter might be able to return to action within two weeks. Carter has a 3.65 ERA in 37 innings — the most by a Razorback who has not started a game.
"The first MRI came back negative, which means no tear," Van Horn said, referencing a test Carter underwent last Friday. "What we're going to do...is another MRI today with the dye. They put dye in your arm and if there is any kind of tear, it's going to find it...so we'll know 100% for sure on him.
"We think it could be like an ulnar nerve, and if that's the case, best-case scenario we might get him back in a week or two — maybe more toward two, but it's not six weeks. I hope we get good news on that."
Arkansas right-hander Brady Tygart threw 20 pitches last Friday in his first outing since spraining his ulnar collateral ligament on March 1. Tygart worked around a two-out walk and threw one scoreless inning against Texas A&M.
Van Horn said Tygart might increase his pitch count to 35 for his outing at Mississippi State this weekend, and might increase to 60 or 65 pitches the following week against South Carolina.
"Our plan right now is to continue to start him," Van Horn said.
Arkansas second baseman Peyton Stovall has an injured right shoulder that has caused pain throwing the ball and swinging the bat. Stovall is batting .253 and appeared to grimace on multiple plays in the field late in last Saturday's game against Texas A&M.
Stovall will travel, but will not play when the Razorbacks take on Lipscomb on Tuesday at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, but is expected to play Friday's series opener at Mississippi State.
"The first time he'll pick up a ball will probably be Thursday night or maybe game day Friday," Van Horn said. "He'll take ground balls. I don't know if we'll have him hit much. He'll go with us [to North Little Rock] but he won't throw or hit; he'll just be there for the team.
"Hopefully we can get him right. He just wants to get healthy. He's real frustrated."
Van Horn said he is unsure whether Peyton Holt, a back-up second baseman, will be able to play in Stovall's absence Tuesday. Holt twisted his ankle before last Friday's game and showed up the following day on crutches.
"As of right now I don't know if I'll start him; it's probably [a game-time decision] on that," Van Horn said. "I'll probably put Harold Coll at second, is my plan right now."
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