Daily 49er

Dirtbags’ prospective ace pitcher, John Sheaks, out indefinitely

The front runner for LBSU’s Friday night starts suffers UCL tear in practice.

LBSU+senior+right+handed+pitcher+completely+tore+his+UCL+in+practice+on+on+Feb.+9.+He+was+removed+from+the+intersquad+game+immediately+after+the+injury+and+has+been+ruled+out+indefinitely.
LBSU senior right handed pitcher completely tore his UCL in practice on on Feb. 9. He was removed from the intersquad game immediately after the injury and has been ruled out indefinitely.

LBSU senior right handed pitcher completely tore his UCL in practice on on Feb. 9. He was removed from the intersquad game immediately after the injury and has been ruled out indefinitely.

Luke Ramirez

Luke Ramirez

LBSU senior right handed pitcher completely tore his UCL in practice on on Feb. 9. He was removed from the intersquad game immediately after the injury and has been ruled out indefinitely.

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Just one week before the start of the 2018 season, senior right handed pitcher John Sheaks suffered a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow. Long Beach State’s most experienced arm is now ruled out indefinitely.

“It sucks to not be able to compete this year with this group of guys,” Sheaks said. “All there is now is to help the team any way I can while trying to get healthy.”

In 2017, Sheaks was part of a starting rotation that played a major role in the Dirtbags’ climb to a No. 8 national ranking as well as a NCAA regional tournament win and the right to host a super regional. He was 8-4 over 17 starts and 88 innings, posting a 4.09 ERA with 55 strikeouts. After pitchers Darren McCaughan and Dave Smith were drafted to the MLB in July, Sheaks was primed to return as the Friday night starter and one of the veterans of the club.

“First of all, I just feel really bad for John who has continued to mature and get better,” head coach Troy Buckley said. “He was slated to pitch on Friday nights and was really excited about that and looking forward to that opportunity.”

The injury was suffered during a team practice on Feb. 9 while Sheaks was pitching in a intersquad game. After releasing a breaking ball, he immediately removed his glove and grabbed his right elbow, shortly followed by a notion to the dugout toward the team’s trainer Jessica Jewell. After a brief conference that also included pitching coach Dan Ricabal, Sheaks was removed from the game. An MRI on Monday revealed that Sheaks’ 2018 season would end before it began. The UCL is the ligament most commonly connected to the infamous Tommy John surgery, which is known for the grueling recovery process post operation.

“The average pitcher returns to game action 12-16 months following surgery, but that time varies greatly by individual,” according to MLB.com.

Sheaks did not comment on whether or not he would pursue a medical redshirt to preserve his last year of NCAA eligibility.

Junior catcher Cole Joy, who transfered from Irvine Valley College this fall, will also be placed on the shelf after breaking his thumb in practice on Feb. 10. Buckley said he was slated to start behind the plate in the Dirtbags’ home opening series against St. Mary’s. Joy could miss up to 10 weeks should he need surgery to repair the damage to his hand.

“There aren’t any excuses; you have to just keep plugging away,” Buckley said.

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