Beeks' Return Likely in Charlottesville Regional

FAYETTEVILLE--Jalen Beeks moved closer to returning to the mound for the Diamond Hogs after a Tuesday workout that included some bullpen work for the first time since he was pulled from the Ole Miss game on May 3rd.

"I threw on flat ground, long tossed about 150 feet and worked a short bullpen (session)," Beeks told reporters following a team practice at Baum Stadium. Beeks stopped short of predicting his return to action in the Charlottesville, Virginia Regional because, as he put it, "I've got some treatment left and anything can happen."

Beeks also said the biggest issue is not returning to the mound but returning to the mound effectively.

"I've got to work on my slider and change up because I don't have any feel for those," Beeks explained. "It's really going to be the off speed that's affected the most. My fastball's going to be fine but the off speed I really have to work on controlling."

Hogs veteran pitching coach Dave Jorn quickly nixed the notion that Beeks would be back in the starting rotation, telling reporters, "I hope that you can expect to see him out of the bullpen. Maybe a two or three inning stint. I wouldn't want to pitch him more than about 50 pitches from where he's at when he's coming back from that strain."

The strain Jorn referred to is a grade one injury that Beeks apparently suffered during that Ole Miss game or in the days leading up to it. "I felt a little bit of pain, not bad, before that, like in the previous three weeks," Beeks recalled. "It just got pretty bad in that Ole Miss game."

"It's been a terrible three weeks," Beeks continued. "I've just done whatever I can. Tried to be a leader but it's been really hard to watch instead of play."

Beeks' stablemate and former high school rival Chris Oliver said it would be huge for the team to get Beeks back for regional play.

"I think he's going to be able to go," Oliver predicted. "We could really use him but I have faith in the rest of our staff from top to bottom. We got the job done in the SEC tournament for three games which is what we'll need this weekend."

The Razorbacks left Fayetteville for Little Rock on Tuesday evening. They will fly to Charlottesville Wednesday morning where they will have a couple of more days to prepare for Friday night's first game against Liberty University.

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