Todd Avery / For the Lantern
The Ohio State men’s baseball team will be one player short when it starts off its season on Friday against Mercer University.
Junior pitcher and first baseman Josh Dezse will miss at least the first two months of the season due to a stress reaction in his lower back.
A stress reaction is an injury to, and in some cases, a fracture in one of the vertebrae making up the spinal column. It is a common athletic injury because it can be caused by sports that put stress on the back, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website.
The injury has been causing Dezse problems for a while, said coach Greg Beals.
“Josh hasn’t been right since fall ball and we now know why and have a path that we’re going to follow. Hopefully over the next two months we can get Josh healed and in a position to compete at the level that we’re accustomed to, and we’ll wait until he’s at that point,” Beals said in a press release Monday.
Dezse, a Powell, Ohio, native, finished second on the team in batting average last year. He hit five home runs and had nine doubles, 33 RBI and 31 runs.
He pitched 24 times in the 2012 season, accumulating a 2.86 ERA, and he tied for third overall in the Big Ten with his seven saves.
Dezse was Big Ten Player of the Week once, an NCBWA third-team preseason All-American and a third-team preseason All-American for CollegeSportsMadness.com last season, as well as being on the watch list for both the 2012 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award and the Golden Spikes Award.
“It’s not best for me or the team to compete right now because I’m unable to compete at the level I’m used to with the injury,” Dezse said in the press release.
“The best thing is to take the two months off to heal and rehab and hopefully I’ll be at 100 percent at that time.”
Beals said the loss is most upsetting for Dezse.
“Most importantly, this is disappointing for Josh,” Beals said. “It’s also a loss for our team as he has been a big part of our team the last two years.”
OSU is set to take on Mercer at 6 p.m. on Friday in Sarasota, Fla.