If you’re into stories about strange keepsakes, you’ll really enjoy this from Boston Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg.
After arriving at the Red Sox Winter Weekend event on Saturday, the 29-year-old right-hander went into detail about his recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome, which was addressed with surgery in June.
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Thornburg noted that he’s feeling good now and has a good chance at being ready for opening day. That’s the news Red Sox fans care about most. As for us, we were most interested in the souvenir that Thornburg kept from his surgery.
We’re not ribbing you here either. Thornburg actually kept the rib that was removed during the surgery. And to make the story even better, it’s now in a jar on his parents’ counter.
That’s probably not the memento Thornburg’s parents were expecting to get from his MLB career. Their job, it appears, is to make sure the rib is preserved.
“You have to do this cleaning protocol to preserve it so it doesn’t turn colors,” Thornburg. We just have it in a little jar sitting on the counter.”
Thornburg had the rib removed to relieve pressure on some nerves that were causing weakness and soreness in his right shoulder. It’s not an uncommon procedure in the baseball world. Matt Harvey is among those to come back from the operation. It’s also not uncommon for those players to keep the rib either. Twins pitcher Phil Hughes, for example, turned his into a necklace last year.
Hey, who are we to judge what anyone decides to do with their surgically removed rib? It’s still their rib.
Rib talk aside, the Red Sox will be looking for big things from Thornburg after his shoulder issues forced him to miss the entire 2017 season. He was expected to fill the set up role ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel after Boston acquired him from Milwaukee in the Travis Shaw deal last winter. At the time, he was coming off a breakout season in which he posted a 2.15 ERA over 67 innings.
The converted starter found a home in the bullpen before his injury. Now he’ll look to reestablish that presence. If he does, he’ll be a nice addition to a bullpen that just lost Addison Reed in free agency. Barring another signing, you could even say the Red Sox need Thornburg’s arm far more than he or anyone else needed his rib.
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