Phil Hughes went to the vascular specialist and as it turns out, he’s all clear. That’s good news no doubt as a positive diagnosis looked like it would be surgery and the rest of the season down the tubes. A negative test for thoracic outlet syndrome is definitely a good thing. The other side of the coin is now we still have no idea what’s wrong with Phil.
The Yankees will proceed with another arm strengthening program in the hopes Hughes can regain some of his missing velocity. They’ve already tried this of course and it just didn’t work which culminated with them ordering long overdue MRIs for Hughes. So after seeing a specialist when he slightly tested positive for thoracic outlet syndrome we’re now back at square one.
Which totally terrifies me.
My biggest fear in all this is not knowing what’s wrong at all. I can’t imagine a more troubling scenario- he’s a 24 year old pitcher, who should be in the physical prime of his life, suddenly loses his velocity and ability to throw strikes. That start he made against the Red Sox in Boston is seared into my mind- it was like a bad Javy Vazquez flashback from 2010. Sully McGintty in row 47, on his 47th beer could have made decent contact against him that day. This isn’t supposed to be happening to a 24 year old kid.
Look, I hope this arm strengthening program works. I hope that Hughes comes back and finds his velocity, makes some rehab starts and maybe we’ll see him late June and we forget all about this. I’m not laying down any money of that though. The most terrifying possibility, although probably most unlikely (I hope) is that it’s just gone- something happened and he can never recover that velocity again. Again, that’s unlikely I think. 24 year olds generally just don’t lose velocity out of nowhere without something being actually wrong. So if something is actually wrong, what could it be? As crazy as it is, part of me wishes that the vascular specialist had said, “Yes, we’ve found the root of the problem, with so and so procedures we can start to move forward”. I’m uncomfortable “wishing” a medical diagnosis on someone like that, especially considering my own medical history. At least if we knew definitively what was wrong though we could start moving forward.
Because right now Hughes and the Yankees are stuck in neutral back at square one.