Oregon State baseball ace Kevin Abel is out for the rest of the Beavers season, and maybe a little more too.
The sophomore righty, who suffered an undisclosed back injury ahead of Oregon State’s three games in Seattle, has announced he will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow.
“Upon my return to throwing, we discovered some forearm tightness after throwing a couple bullpens,” Abel said in a press conference following Oregon State's 12-8 loss to Oregon on Wednesday. “Went and got that checked out, had an MRI and the reason why it’s taken so long to figure it out is I went and saw specialists. I really wanted to make sure I’m making the right decision as far as making sure I can play baseball as long as I can."
Abel's last outing was on March 1, when he led the Beavers to a runaway 9-2 victory over Western Virginia. In the game, Abel matched a career high with 11 strikeouts in six innings of work. Following the game against West Virginia, Abel sat out of the Seattle Baseball Showcase with a sore back.
In three starts, Abel, who led Oregon State with a perfect four victories in the College World Series, had 25 strikeouts and nine walks in 16 1/3 innings. Oregon State was 9-0 prior to Abel’s injury, and now 23-7-1, fourth in Pac-12 standings.
Abel does not currently have a date set for his surgery, but expects to undergo the procedure in the near future. Recovery time for Tommy John surgery is approximately 12-16 months, which means Beavers fans can expect to see Abel back on the mound sometime next season.
With Abel out, junior left-hander Brandon Eisert has stepped up.
The reliever-turned-starter has been Oregon State’s Friday night starter against California, Washington and Utah, and recently received Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance against Washington, where he struck out nine batters and held the Huskies scoreless on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. In Friday's game against the Utes, the lefty struck out seven and allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings of work.