Oakland A’s pitcher Andrew Triggs will undergo thoracic outlet surgery next week, the team announced Tuesday. The operation will take place on Sept. 26, and there will be more details after that point.
Triggs has been on the disabled list since the middle of May. The original diagnosis was nerve irritation in his arm, with one symptom being numbness in some of his fingers. His latest comeback attempt was shut down in early September after a rehab outing in the minors. Here’s a good summary of what the 29-year-old is dealing with.
#Athletics RHP Andrew Triggs will undergo thoracic outlet surgery Sept. 26. Thoracic outlet syndrome is when certain nerves or blood vessels are compressed, which can cause pain in the shoulder/neck & numbness in the fingers. A’s say they will provide more info after the surgery.— Ben Ross (@BenRossSports) September 18, 2018
The right-hander started nine games for the A’s this season before landing on the DL. After spending his minor league career in the bullpen, this was the third straight year in which Oakland used him as a starter, and for the third time it ended with an injury. In 2016 he lost the final month to back tightness, and he was limited to a dozen games in 2017 due to a hip that ultimately required surgery. When healthy he’s been more than a serviceable starter, though his overall numbers don’t always show it.
Triggs, 2018: 5.23 ERA, 41⅓ ip, 43 Ks, 18 BB, 7 HR, 4.80 FIP
Thoracic outlet syndrome, and the accompanying surgery, is a serious diagnosis for a pitcher. Some never return at all. However, it’s not a total dealbreaker, and lots of pitchers do come back and find further success. One recent example is Matt Harvey, who made it back to the bigs and had a fine season in 2018. Here are a few links to more info on TOS:
A couple takeaways from those articles: Recovery can take a year, and pitchers are more likely to suffer loss of command than loss of velocity.
Summary of MLB disabled list:
- Blackburn: resumed throwing
- Smolinski: likely out for season
- Cotton: out for season (TJS)
- Triggs: out for season, and presumably 2019 (thoracic outlet)
- Manaea: out for season, and likely 2019 (shoulder surgery)
- Graveman: out for season, and likely 2019 (TJS)
- Gossett: out for season, and likely 2019 (TJS)
The A’s injury woes have been so bad that the effects will be felt into next summer. There are now four starters who might possibly be out for 2019 already, on top of a couple others (Cotton and A.J. Puk) who surely won’t be ready for the beginning of the season.
Best of luck to all the injured A’s in their recoveries!