Stanford righthander Tristan Beck, a preseason second-team All-American who was the team's Opening Day starter last year, will miss the opening of the 2017 season with a back injury.
A source with direct knowledge of the situation, who wished to remain unidentified, said Beck had X-rays taken earlier this week that revealed a small stress fracture in his back. His doctor's first course of action is to give Beck four weeks off before resuming baseball activity. He'll then have to work his way back into throwing shape, which likely will push his first start of the season back to April.
Beck, a sophomore, went 6-5, 2.48 as a freshman for the Cardinal, with opponents hitting just .205 against him. He walked 26 and struck out 76 while making himself a likely first-round pick this season as an eligible sophomore. When he's at his best, Beck throws four pitches that have ranged from above-average to plus, with a low-90s fastball, two breaking balls and a changeup that looked outstanding in short looks in the fall. Beck did not pitch last summer.
In his absence, Stanford will have to learn harder on senior Brett Hanewich, a senior righty who had an excellent fall according to scouts. Hanewich went 3-2, 3.92 last season in an injury-interrupted season, while he was a rotation stalwart in 2014-15 (combined 8-10, 3.59 in more than 150 innings). It also could push the Cardinal to make preseason All-American Colton Hock a starter, a role he performed in the Cape Cod League, rather than remain a reliever. The Cardinal coaching staff had yet to be reached for comment.
His back injury clearly will complicate his draft status for 2017, as Beck is an eligible sophomore, which gives him more leverage than the average college pitcher. He also has a younger brother, infielder/righthander Brendan, also committed to Stanford out of Corona (Calif.) High. If the older brother were to remain at Stanford for another season, the brothers could play together.
First things first; Beck’s goal remains to get healthy and to help Stanford coach Mark Marquess finish his final season in style.