OCT. 13: Lin tweets that Dr. Thompson told Green he was pleased with the operation, indicating that no complications arose and no additional damage was found in Ross’ shoulder. Ross had one of his ribs removed to alleviate some pressure, as is common in TOS operations.
OCT. 12: Padres right-hander Tyson Ross, who made only one appearance during the 2016 season due to persistent shoulder troubles, will undergo surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, manager Andy Green tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The surgery comes with a projected recovery timeline of four to six months, leaving the Friars hopeful that Ross will be ready for Spring Training. Lin adds that Dr. Robert Thompson, who is considered the nation’s leading expert on thoracic outlet syndrome, will perform the surgery on Thursday.
While not as prevalent as the dreaded Tommy John surgery, thoracic outlet surgery (TOS) isn’t uncommon. Just this season, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey and Twins right-hander Phil Hughes have undergone the procedure, which alleviates a compression of blood vessels and nerves near the shoulder — often by removing a rib from the patient. Lin notes that Ross’ teammate, Clayton Richard, underwent the surgery in 2014, as did former Padres right-hander Chris Young. Other recent TOS patients include Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia, former NL Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter and former big league reliever Mike Adams, to name a few.
Ross, 29, was an oft-speculated trade candidate both at the 2015 non-waiver deadline and in the 2015-16 offseason, but the Padres hung onto their top starter rather than deal him for what one can only assume would have been a strong package of prospects. Acquired in a what looked to be a fairly forgettable trade back in November 2012 (Oakland sent Ross and A.J. Kirby-Jones to San Diego in exchange for infielder Andy Parrino and left-hander Andrew Werner), Ross broke out with a terrific 2013 season in San Diego. From 2013-15, the former second-round pick pitched to a 3.07 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a hefty 58.2 percent ground-ball rate across 516 2/3 innings — including a pair of 195+ inning seasons in 2014-15.
That performance netted Ross a notable $9.625MM salary for the 2016 campaign, but he managed just 5 1/3 innings this season — all of which came on Opening Day for the Padres. His lost season obviously won’t result in any type of raise in arbitration, so San Diego figures to control him for the same amount in 2017 as well. If Ross is able to demonstrate his health and return to his previous levels of excellence, he could yet become an appealing trade asset for the Padres next July. Of course, he’ll be a pure rental at that point, as Ross is slated to hit free agency following the 2017 season. That fact makes the success of this surgery and a return to form next year all the more important for Ross, as a rebound would position him for a nice payday as he enters the open market on the brink of his age-31 season.