Key player Matt Goodheart will miss Opening Weekend for Arkansas Razorbacks
baseball Edit

Van Horn provides update on Goodheart's status

Matt Goodheart is one of Arkansas' preseason All-SEC picks.
Matt Goodheart is one of Arkansas' preseason All-SEC picks. (Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports)

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Arkansas will be without a key player for the opening weekend of the 2021 season.

Fourth-year junior Matt Goodheart did not travel with the team and will not play for the Razorbacks in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown, sources told HawgBeat on Saturday.

His absence was because of "non-COVID-related health reasons," a UA spokesperson confirmed a couple of hours before Arkansas' 13-9 win over Texas Tech. During his postgame press conference, head coach Dave Van Horn said Goodheart was dealing with "some stomach issues."

That is a significant blow to Arkansas’ lineup, as Goodheart was expected to bat third and either play first base or serve as the designated hitter in Arlington, Texas, this weekend.

It's unclear if he'll be available for the Razorbacks' first home series against Southeast Missouri State, which begins Thursday.

"We're hoping to get him next weekend, but if we don't, we just want him to get healthy and get back," Van Horn said. "We put him in three-hole. We flipped some of our guys in the order. It makes our lineup deeper. We're just hoping that Matt feels better soon."

The Magnolia native was tabbed as the preseason first-team All-SEC designated hitter/utility player after hitting .302 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in the shortened 2020 season. He was also a second-team All-SEC selection following a sophomore season in which he hit .345 with five home runs and 47 RBIs in 2019.

In his place, the Razorbacks started Smith at first base and Brady Slavens at designated hitter. They were both possibilities at first base with Goodheart likely to start as the designated hitter, but his absence allowed both to get in the lineup.