Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Worries about Hughes escalate overnight

Concern about Phil Hughes has escalated into fear almost overnight.

Although the New York Yankees are characterizing the quick halt of his bullpen session as a setback, the primary question is no longer about whether a 24-year-old has lost his fastball. It’s about whether that young man is healthy. And it’s no longer just about whether his arm is hurt. The most frightening news was that Hughes will undergo a full body scan because the Yankees are now worried that an internal issue such as an aneurysm is causing the problem.

Did this not occur to anyone before? Sure, you expect a guy that young to be healthy, but it’s not like this is the first time the Yankees have dealt with this type of health problem. David Cone famously tried to pitch through numbness in his arm that turned out to be caused by an aneurysm that required emergency surgery and a lengthy stay on the disabled list.

Having gone through a similarly unexpected, but life-threatening condition with a blood clot, I can understand how something like this could sneak up on a person. But I don’t have a team of highly-paid medical professionals following my every move. If the problem is potentially this severe, it should have been ruled out long ago.

I will be praying that Hughes is not facing a life-threatening situation and, that if he is, that his otherwise good health and youth and the high-quality care he will receive from now on will get him through it. He’s been increasingly worried about his ability to pitch, but I’m sure he must be really scared now. I know I was when the diagnosis of a blood clot was confirmed. Hughes has gone from worrying about his fastball to worrying about his health and that’s not a good thing. Hopefully it turns out to be much ado about nothing.

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