4:54pm: Hughes adds that if he can avoid undergoing a second surgery, the issue may not quite be season-ending (Twitter link via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).
4:04pm: Hughes tells reporters that he’s experiencing the same symptoms he felt last year and could undergo another surgery to remove the remaining portion of the rib that was half removed in the first procedure (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger). He’s seeking additional opinions before deciding a course of treatment.
3:50pm: The Twins announced on Tuesday that they’ve placed right-hander Phil Hughes directly onto the 60-day DL — he’d been on the active roster — due to a recurrence of thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms. Hughes’ 2016 season was cut short by surgery to alleviate TOS, but the veteran righty has struggled to stay healthy in 2017 even after the operation.
Hughes, 31, has pitched to a 5.87 ERA through 53 2/3 innings in 2017 as he attempted to reestablish himself following a pair of down seasons (both of which may well have been impacted by the TOS issue). Hughes maintained his excellent control and actually upped his strikeout rate a bit as he tried to reinvent himself as a changeup/curveball artist to compensate for diminished fastball velocity (89.7 mph on average). Upon his return from a DL stint tied to biceps tendinitis, Hughes was placed in the bullpen with the hope that a change in role could keep him healthy and help to bolster a Twins relief corps that has often been problematic in 2017.
Unfortunately for both Hughes and the Twins, the results obviously weren’t favorable, and now a return this season looks to be uncertain. The earliest he can be activated from the disabled list would be mid-September. Hughes is still controlled for another two seasons beyond the 2017 campaign, during which he’s guaranteed a total of $26.4MM.
The placement of Hughes on the 60-day DL seemingly represents a change of course, as last night it was reported that righty Dillon Gee would land on outright waivers today, thus creating a roster spot for Bartolo Colon. The Twins, however, announced that Colon will step into Hughes’ roster spot, so for the time being it looks as though Gee will remain on the 40-man roster.
In related moves, the Twins also announced that lefty Craig Breslow has been activated from the disabled list, with first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas being optioned to Triple-A Rochester to create a vacancy on the 25-man roster for Breslow’s return.