Oregon St.'s Taylor Starr has been granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. (Photo by Josh Osich)
Taylor Starr, a 5th year senior this past season, had thought he had thrown his last pitch for Oregon St. after the Beavers exited the NCAA Regionals. But it turns out there is a silver lining to the three shoulder shoulder surgeries he had to come back from.
Starr had no idea what was up when Coach Pat Casey called him into the office during finals week.
"My heart about stopped when Coach Casey told me ‘You should start your masters'," Starr admitted.
Beavers fans have become somewhat familiar with the process, having seen football players Sammie Stroughter and James Rodgers both get to come back for an extra year as a result of unfortunate and extremely bad luck, and Starr's arm surgeries fits the same criteria.
"It's a pleasant surprise," Oregon St. pitching coach Nate Yeskie said. "Certainly we're excited. Taylor has an opportunity to come back and continue to play, and do some of things he set out to do, both personally and team-wise, when he came here a few years ago."
Starr had to have Tommy John surgery in 2009, and the 2010 season was also lost to another arm surgery. And the the 2011 season saw more surgery, before Starr was finally able to return to the mound this past season, where he went 5-2 for the Beavers, including two victories over Oregon. Starr appeared in 18 games this past season, making 7 starts.
Starr is spending the summer baseball season with the Corvallis Knights.
"We'll be working with the Oregon State staff," Knights Coach Brooke Knight said. "He can whatever we need him to do, whether it's start, be a middle reliever, or close games, but it'll be a cooperative decision we make together to do what's best for Taylor to make sure that we prepare him for another season for the Beavers."
The emotional swings Starr experienced are just a continuation of his rehab experiences.
"It was a roller coaster coming back from Baton Rogue," Starr said. "Seeing all the guys at the last game at LSU, seeing all the seniors leaving, thinking I'd never get the chance to wear the uniform again."
But there was no doubt in Starr's mind, at least once the disbelief of hearing the news from Casey subsided, though.
"Anytime I have the chance to wear that uniform, I'm going to do it."
Starr's addition will only strengthen what was arguably already the best returning pitching staff in the Pac-12.