By Nicole Fiorini
Canadian Baseball Network
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Patrick Murphy has jumped over many hurdles as a pitcher.
From Tommy John surgery, to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and a nerve removal, the Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect has 2018 in his sights and was in training mode Wednesday.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, in which the rib under the collarbone constantly pinches veins, arteries or nerves, was particularly hard because of numbness and tingling in his pitching arm.
It was difficult to diagnose. Murphy feared it would threaten his promising young career.
“It was tough for a while and I wasn’t really sure if I would ever get over the injury,” Murphy said. “And if it was something I would just have to deal with for a while and learn to pitch with it.
“But eventually I found the solution and it’s been good ever since.”
The solution was surgery to remove the rib, and eventually the nerve in his elbow. It is a rare condition, yet Murphy was able to lean on a teammate who had been through the process already.
“One of my teammates that I rehabbed with had just had it the year prior to me and went to the same surgeon, in Dallas. I mean I was comfortable with it because he recovered well and bounced back,” Murphy said.
The 6-foot-4 hurler was selected by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2013 amateur draft out of high school. Last season, Murphy pitched a career-high 106 2/3 innings for class-A Dunedin.
“My biggest goal is to just have a full season. Go out there, perform and help the team win in any way I can and hopefully get moving up the ranks,” said the 22-year-old.
Murphy threw 97 mph as a Vancouver Canadian, and plans keep his eyes on the prize for his upcoming season.
“The pitch I’m focusing on the most is change-up. Fastball and curveball I’m really comfortable with, but curveball has always been my favourite. Progressing that change-up to have three solid pitches will help me move up and to be more advanced and have that third pitch in my arsenal,” said the Arizona native.
Since 2013, these injuries have limited Murphy to just 44 appearances. He finished 2017 with Dunedin and will likely return to that level to start the 2018 season.
Murphy views his teammates as friends, not competition.
“I have a close group of guys that compete together. It’s not really hoping one fails or anything, but it’s just pushing each other to all get better and hopefully move up and reach Toronto together,” he said.