An Important Part of Arkansas’ Bullpen Is 2-3 Months Ahead of Schedule on Rehab

Dylan Carter, Arkansas baseball, Arkansas vs Alabama
photo credit: Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE — Less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Dylan Carter could be back on the mound for Arkansas baseball.

Pitchers typically need 12-18 months to recover from the surgery to repair a torn UCL, so the right-hander is a good 2-3 months ahead of schedule in his rehab.

“His rehab has been nothing short of amazing,” his mother, Carmen Carter, told Best of Arkansas Sports last week. “I’ve never seen him so determined to get back on the field.”

Aside from a family vacation to Mexico, Carter has done daily rehab work to ensure he’ll be able to pitch for the Razorbacks this season despite not undergoing the surgery until May 5 last year.

Carter started mound work in December and, if everything continues at the same pace, he’ll be fully cleared in about four weeks, his mother said.

He’s already throwing at about 75% effort in bullpen sessions and is sitting 86-87 mph. The plan is for him to be at full effort the final two weeks of his rehab.

The Arkansas baseball season begins Feb. 16 against James Madison, but everyone is “cautiously optimistic” that Carter would be available to pitch sometime in March. SEC play starts on March 15 with a series against Missouri.

Getting him back would only bolster what is shaping up to be one of the strongest pitching staffs in the country.

Carter was one of the Razorbacks’ best stories of 2023. A lifelong Arkansas fan, he spent two years in junior college and then redshirted his first year in Fayetteville before bursting onto the scene last year.

With multiple injuries leaving the Razorbacks short on arms, he took on a much larger role than expected and was one of their top options out of the bullpen. Before the injury, he was 6-0 with 2 saves and a 3.65 ERA in 37 innings across 16 appearances. Carter could be extended, like he was in 4 2/3 scoreless innings against Tennessee, or pitch twice on a weekend, like he did against Alabama and Ole Miss.

It’s unclear if he’d take on a similar role coming off Tommy John surgery in 2024, but Carter will at least be a veteran presence in a bullpen featuring numerous talented, but young pitchers.

Freshman Dealing with Injury

One of those talented, but young pitchers is left-hander Hunter Dietz, a heralded freshman from Florida.

Unfortunately, he had a minor procedure following fall ball and is expected to miss the start of the season. Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball first reported the news and Best of Arkansas Sports has since confirmed it.

Ranked as the No. 57 overall recruit in the 2023 class by Perfect Game coming out of Calvary Christian in Clearwater, Fla., Dietz is the highest ranked pitcher to make it to campus in nine years.

Although the weekend rotation is seemingly set with Hagen Smith, Brady Tygart and Mason Molina, Dietz figured to carve out a role on the pitching staff as a freshman because of his electric stuff.

The good news is that the Razorbacks are still planning on the 6’6”, 230 pound freshman contributing in 2024, according to Rogers. Understandably, they are being cautious with him.

It’s unclear exactly when Dietz may be available to make his collegiate debut, but Arkansas baseball coach Dave Van Horn is scheduled to meet with the media at 10 a.m. CT Thursday. He will preview the start of preseason practice and perhaps provide more insight on his timeline, as well as give updates on other injured Razorbacks.

2024 Arkansas Baseball Roster

1Ty WilmsmeyerOFGrad.
3Nolan SouzaINFFr.
4Jack WagnerINF/OFGrad.
5Kendall DiggsOFJr.
6Ben McLaughlinINFSr.
8Hudson WhiteCJr.
9Wehiwa AloyINFSo.
10Peyton StovallINFJr.
11Jaewoo ChoRHPFr.
12Jared Sprague-LottINFSr.
13Jayson JonesINF/OFSo.
14Ross LovichOFSr.
16Hudson PolkCSr.
17Hunter GrimesOFR-Sr.
18Reese RobinettINFSo.
19Will EdmunsonOFJr.
20Gabe GaeckleRHPFr.
21Mason MolinaLHPJr.
22Ty WaidC/INFFr.
24Peyton HoltINF/OFSr.
25Brady TygartRHPJr.
26Tate McGuireRHPFr.
27Ryder HelfrickCFr.
28Koty FrankRHPGrad.
31Dylan CarterRHPR-Jr.
32Hunter DietzLHPFr.
33Hagen SmithLHPJr.
34Diego RamosRHPFr.
36Parker CoilLHPSo.
37Jake FahertyRHPJr.
38Colin FisherLHPFr.
39Tucker HollandLHPFr.
40Ben BybeeRHPSo.
41Will McEntireRHPR-Sr.
43Kade SmithOFFr.
44Parker RowlandCSr.
45Gage WoodRHPSo.
46Christian FoutchRHPSo.
48Cooper DossettRHPSo.
49Stone HewlettLHPSr.
51Jack SmithLHPFr.
55Josh HynemanRHPR-Fr.
61Adam HachmanLHPFr.


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