Recently drafted University of Iowa baseball star Blake Hickman will have to wait a while longer before throwing a professional pitch.
Hickman confirmed to HawkCentral.com that he would have Tommy John surgery next week.
The news came after he had signed with the Chicago White Sox. The powerful right-handed pitcher was selected by his hometown team in the seventh round of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft on June 9. He chose to start his pro career and skip his senior year at Iowa for what MLB.com reported to be a $200,000 signing bonus.
"It's all good," Hickman said in a text message. "I'll come back twice as strong."
Hickman was Iowa's only first-team all-Big Ten Conference selection after helping the Hawkeyes to a 41-18 record and the school's fourth-ever NCAA regional appearance. He also became Iowa's first all-American since 1999.
Hickman went 9-2 with a 2.99 ERA in his first-ever season as a full-time pitcher. He dazzled scouts with a 96-97 mph fastball, but struggled with velocity in his final two starts — Iowa losses to Michigan (in the Big Ten Tournament) and Missouri State (in the NCAAs).
Recovery from the surgery (officially called ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction) can take 10-12 months.