Minnesota Twins: Phil Hughes on DL with painful disorder

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 11: Phil Hughes
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 11: Phil Hughes /

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes has had a recurring battle with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. This time, it may put him out for the season.

Phil Hughes has not been himself the past two seasons with the Minnesota Twins. While many Twins fans have been frustrated, it is hard to be angry at him knowing what he is dealing with. Hughes has been placed on the 60-day disabled list because of a disorder called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

The disorder kept Hughes out of action last season and will more than likely keep him out of the the rest of this season. Hughes has had problems starting, as the work load was too much for him with such an ailment. He would lose feeling in his fingertips later in games, something that should not have to be toughed out by a pitcher.

Hughes would later be converted to the bullpen, but would continue to struggle on the mound and with his health. The Twins made the decision to put him on the disabled list for what may turn out to be the rest of the 2017 season.

More from Minnesota Twins News

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic, is:

"“a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck and numbness in your fingers.”"

It seems to be painful and is not your usual injury. It can be treated a few different ways.

"“Treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome usually involves physical therapy and pain relief measures. Most people improve with these approaches. In some cases, however, your doctor may recommend surgery.”"

Hughes did undergo surgery to remove part of one of his ribs to help help blood flow in 2016, and he hopes to avoid another surgery this time around. If he does choose to have surgery, it would require the removal of the rest of the rib and some scar tissue. That route may be the best option for saving his career.

Where does Hughes go from here?

There is no time table for Hughes’ return, but he tries to stay optimistic. He does not believe this condition is career-threatening, saying:

"“I try not to think that way. It’s been a rough go the last couple of years, but I try not to let my mind wander that way. I try to focus on what I can do now.”"

It is great to see his mindset is to stay positive. Hughes has shown he can pitch, and has even been able to get past this issue before. There are reports that he suffered from symptoms of it all the way back in 2011 while playing with the Yankees. If that is the case, maybe he can comeback again and maybe even for good.

Next: Twins Trade Target: Cole Hamels

The Twins owe Hughes $13.2 million in each of the next two seasons. It is not likely either side will give up on a chance of a comeback. Hopefully he gets the problem fixed and makes a full recovery. He is still only 31 years old. If he is able to overcome this, he can still be a productive big leaguer for years to come.