Earlier today, we talked about a recent setback in Tyler Thornburg’s rehab and how it was going to be a little while until we saw him pitch for the Red Sox, something he has yet to do. Well, the wait is going to be even longer than we had originally expected. The right-handed reliever is going to undergo surgery that will cause him to miss the entire 2017 season.
#RedSox announceTyler Thornburg will undergo surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome. That was a matter of time.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) June 15, 2017
This news isn’t entirely out of nowhere, of course. Thornburg’s rehab hasn’t ever really seemed to be on track, as he’s suffered setback after setback. The Red Sox never explicitly said it, but it always seemed at least possible that a season-ending procedure was eventually going to be necessary. It’s obviously bad news for the player and the team that was counting on him to be a key late-inning reliever.
There’s not much to be said about the actual trade to get Thornburg that hasn’t already been said. Everyone is dug into their positions on the deal — and you all know how I feel about losing Mauricio Dubon — and nothing is going to change that opinion. It obviously hurts to see Travis Shaw having so much success in the big leagues while Thornburg is missing the whole season.
The one bit of good news is that Thornburg was not simply a one-year acquisition. With the surgery being out of the way this early, he should be healthy and ready to return for 2018. A lost year in his time in Boston is far from ideal, but there’s still time for him to contribute to this organization, at least. Whether or not that makes the deal any better is irrelevant at this point. It’s been done and the Red Sox have to salvage whatever they can get from it. Unfortunately, that means waiting until next season.
It’s also worth noting that the procedure Thornburg is about to undergo is not always successful. Just recently, Matt Harvey of the Mets underwent the surgery and he hasn’t been the same. That does not mean Thornburg is toast, but it’s worth remembering that surgery is not always an easy fix. Sometimes, shoulders are just done. Hopefully, this is not one of those times, because something tells me the Red Sox might need some bullpen help next year, too.