FORT MYERS, Fla. — By all accounts, Minnesota pitcher Phil Hughes is focused on playing well in 2017. But he is not all there. Literally.
The right-handed starter struggled last year, starting only eight games and posting a horrific 1-7 record. After a demotion to the bullpen, a line drive struck and cracked a bone in his leg. Mercifully, his 2016 campaign came to a close with season-ending surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.
One of his ribs caused nerve and vascular impingement in his throwing shoulder, so he had the rib removed.
Hughes still has the rib and told the Associated Press, “I haven’t decided what the next step is. I have a few ideas. Plating it with some sort of precious metal is one way to go.”
Best of all for Hughes, he says he feels fully healthy heading into the season, which his manager, Paul Molitor, finds encouraging. “You’d like to think if he can come back healthy, he’s going to be motivated to be a guy to help us kind of change direction.”
The 30-year-old Hughes is entering his 11th season in the majors and has an 84-76 record in the last 10.