ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks’ Kyle Nelson to miss extended time with TOS surgery

Apr 30, 2024, 5:58 PM

Pitcher Kyle Nelson...

Pitcher Kyle Nelson #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws against the Colorado Rockies in the eighth inning at Coors Field on April 09, 2024 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Kyle Nelson is going to miss significant time recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, manager Torey Lovullo announced on Tuesday.

Nelson met with specialist Dr. Gregory Pearl in Texas, who will perform the procedure. The Mayo Clinic defines TOS as pressure on the blood vessels or nerves between one’s neck and shoulder.

The D-backs moved Nelson from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day IL to open a 40-man roster spot for fellow southpaw Brandon Hughes.

“Kyle Nelson has been trying to gut this out and eventually spoke up,” Lovullo said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s gonna have to step away and miss some time. But he’s gonna get healthy and help us win games. That should be his mindset.

“He’s got a great example of what that can turn into if and I know he’s had conversations with Merrill (Kelly). He’ll find his way back to being healthy and pitching at the high level that we expect him to and the way he has in the past.”

Kelly underwent TOS surgery and had a rib removed in 2020 after he suffered a blood clot in his shoulder. Kelly had the procedure in September 2020 and made his first start of the 2021 season. Reliever Ryan Thompson also went through it in 2021, and he famously has a necklace with his removed rib attached.

Lovullo said Nelson had been pitching through some discomfort even before a recent stretch of games in which he had been hit around.

Nelson started the season with 9.1 scoreless innings across eight appearances with seven strikeouts. He gave up five earned runs and recorded only four outs over his last three appearances. He was bit by a couple home runs, including a walk-off from St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Nolan Gorman.

“He came out hot, throwing the ball really well to start the season,” Lovullo said. “I think it just backed up on him enough where he started to start to speak up. So I think it was a little was before he actually started to get hit around.”

TOS is not common in MLB but there have been several examples beyond Kelly and Thompson over the years (Stephen Strasburg and Chris Archer for example).

A pitcher is unlikely to return until at least 12 weeks after TOS surgery, according to MLB.com.

Nelson is the third Diamondbacks pitcher on the 60-day IL along with Drey Jameson and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Jameson is out for the year after Tommy John surgery, while Rodriguez had a setback in his rehab from a lat strain and is not eligible to return until late May at the earliest.

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