Say what? Joe Girardi said in his post-game press conference that Phil Hughes may have a low-level thoracic outlet syndrome? Now, I’m not a doctor, so I had to look up what the heck this condition actually is. In a nutshell, it’s a circulatory issue that includes compression of blood vessels in the neck and shoulder area. When you use your right shoulder 100+ times every five days, that’s not a good sign. So basically, Hughes has a cluster of pinched nerves in his right shoulder.
People who have TOS experience pain levels that range from 1 (ability to move the shoulder) to 10 (complete numbness while resting). In extreme cases, blood will leak out of the inflamed area and leak down into the lungs. Yikes. Hughes has been able to throw the ball, which is encouraging, but he’s not the Hughes from 2010.
Hughes is being flown out to St. Louis tomorrow to determine whether he does indeed have this condition and the necessary steps needed to rehabilitate it. RAB stated that pitcher Matt Harrison (Currently in the Rangers rotation), Noah Lowry (who hasn’t pitched since 2007), and Kenny Rogers (who came throwing 5 MPH harder, post surgery) have had TOS. Rogers had the necessary operation, needed in extreme cases and came back stronger. David Cone had a mild case of TOS, but was able to pitch through it.
Reaction: Going forward, who knows when we will see Phil Hughes take the mound again. We may not see the 2010 version ever again which is indeed scary and sad for Yankee fans. This condition is a complete wild card for the Yankees and leaves another hole in the Yankee rotation. Will Hughes ever take a Major League mound again if the case is indeed severe? Stay tuned.