Free agent reliever Luke Hochevar, who has spent his entire nine season career with the Royals, has struggled returning from his thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last year and 2017 is “more than likely a wash for him”, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan.
Hochevar, who had a 2.96 ERA in 147 relief appearances since converting to a relief role full-time in 2013, was shut down last July and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, a procedure that has become more common in recent years. The syndrome is still a rare diagnosis in baseball that affects nerves and blood getting to the arm. It can cause pain and discomfort and has been difficult to diagnose. The procedure usually involved removing a rib, to allow greater flow of blood and more room for nerves.
Flanagan reports that Hochevar’s case was more complicated than that of Kyle Zimmer, who had a similar procedure last year and has returned to action this spring. He writes that Hochevar could still be a second-half signing for someone, but it does not sound like there is a timetable for his return.
Hochevar is a free agent, available to sign for any team. He was originally the first overall pick by the Royals in 2006 and struggled for many years as a starting pitcher before finding success in the bullpen. The 33-year old missed the entire 2014 season following Tommy John surgery.