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Pittsburgh Pirates Lose Chris Archer for the 2020 Season

Photo by Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced Wednesday that pitcher Chirs Archer underwent surgery to relieve symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet) are compressed. Common causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include physical trauma from a car accident, repetitive injuries from job- or sports-related activities.

As stated in the press release, the surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Thompson at Washington University in St. Louis on Tuesday and was conducted “after consulting with several leading vascular and orthopedic surgeons in recent weeks.”

Surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome usually involves opening up space for the nerves and/or blood vessels by removing bone or other tissue and rehabilitation focuses on stretching the muscles of the neck as well as the pectoralis major and minor; these muscles are often over-developed and tight in baseball pitchers due to their repetitive use on a near-daily basis.

The Pirates were hoping for a bounce-back year by Archer, who is 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts since he was acquired from Tampa Bay at the 2018 trade deadline for outfielder Austin Meadows and pitcher Tyler Glasnow. Archer has struggled to find any consistency with the Pirates, while Meadows became an All-Star last season and Glasnow also performed well.

Archer’s contract includes a $9 million salary this year, but he will receive only a portion due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pittsburgh holds an $11 million club option for 2021, with a $250,000 buyout.

Pending on the outcome of the surgery, Archer is expected to be ready to play in 2021.



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