Florida Gators junior right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson will not play college baseball in 2013 after undergoing a shoulder procedure on Thursday, according to Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA.
Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure in order to clean up the joint and relieve pain that bothered Whitson since his freshman season.
The silver lining in this situation is that Whitson didn’t have major arm surgery. University of Florida doctors were unable to find any shoulder or labrum damage, and Andrews came to the same conclusion. Andrews, however, cleaned up a few areas in Whitson’s shoulder, the procedure carried out without needing to cut on him, or full-blown surgery.
Kent Whitson, the player’s father, told Rogers that his son is “relieved” after having the procedure and that Andrews gave him “a thumbs up” when all was said and done.
“Whitson’s rehabilitation will take at least four months, just in the time for the MLB draft,” Rogers reports. “But while that may indicate Whitson could sign the dotted line with a professional organization this summer, the Whitsons believe it would need to be a perfect situation for him to do so.”
He also noted on Twitter that “Whitson said his son is fully prepared to return to Florida as a redshirt junior next season if things don’t work out.”
The Gators announced Wednesday that Whitson was sidelined indefinitely with “shoulder fatigue.” Baseball America reported shortly thereafter that he would be consulting with Andrews about the next step to take in order to heal his shoulder. UF not has confirmed Whitson’s season-ending procedure but head coach Kevin O’Sullivan discussed the news with Rogers on Thursday.
“We’re very disappointed that Karsten won’t be able to pitch for us this season. But on the other side of it, we’re very excited he’s going to be 100 percent at the end of this process,” he said. “We look forward to getting him back on the mound in ’14.”
Whitson originally joined Florida before the 2011 season rather than signing a $2.1 million contract offer from the San Diego Padres, which selected him with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.
He went 8-0 with a 2.45 ERA as a freshman starter, registering 8.51 strikeouts per nine innings and a 3.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio. However, Whitson pitched just 33.1 innings during a sophomore campaign in which he was severely limited due to injury. He concluded the 2012 season with a 4-0 record, 3.51 ERA, 5.40 K/9 and 1.11 K/BB.
A hard-throwing pitcher, Whitson can hit the mid-90s with his fastball and compliments that pitch with a devastating slider. He was slotted to be the Gators’ No. 2 pitcher in 2013, and his absence will be a huge loss for a program currently in rebuilding mode.
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