George Horton is unsure if Kenyon Yovan will ever pitch again for Oregon.
The two-time all-Pac-12 selection pitched two innings when the Ducks opened the season with a 9-4 win at Texas Tech on Feb. 15 before suffering a hand injury that has kept him from pitching again this season. The junior right-hander has not been able to throw a bullpen session and is uncertain to return with four weeks remaining in the regular season.
“He’s getting better, but I don’t know if it will be quick enough,” Horton said as Yovan was being evaluated by doctors on Monday.
Last month, Yovan was hoping to be ready to return in time to face Oregon State this weekend, but will not be able to pitch against the Beavers.
“I don’t know if he will throw a competitive pitch for us the rest of this year, but we will see what happens,” Horton said. “I hope he throws another pitch as a Duck whether that is next year or this year. He hasn’t ruled that out. As much as we would like to have him, the last thing you want to do is push him into service and hurt him.”
The 6-foot-2 Yovan is 7-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 44 games at Oregon with 135 strikeouts in 118 2/3 innings. His first 33 appearances came out of the bullpen with 20 saves before he moved into the starting rotation last season.
Yovan, who was taken in the 32nd round of the 2016 draft by Seattle out of Westview High School in Beaverton, entered the season ranked as the No. 14 college prospect in next month’s draft by D1baseball.com while Baseball America listed him at No. 25 on that list. If he does not pitch again this season, Yovan would have the option to redshirt and return to Oregon as a junior next season if he does not sign a pro contract.
Yovan originally had blood clots on his right hand and recently had numbness in one finger. He received good news when he visited the renowned Kerlin-Jobe Center in Los Angeles last month.
“They gave him a clean bill of health,” Horton said. “They felt like eventually he will get over this stuff. It’s not like next week, there is no timetable and the index finger on his throwing hand is still not healing as quickly. It is like the hamate bone, there is not a lot of circulation there so that is why it is taking so long with the infection. If it is just an infected finger and everything else is going well, which he is trying to confirm, he will (pitch) as soon as he can go.”