Twins right-hander Phil Hughes may have had surgery to remove a rib, but that doesn't mean he was ready to part with the bone just yet.
According to The Associated Press, Hughes kept the rib as a unique souvenir from the worst season of his Major League career and is now considering creating some type of jewelry with it.
Hughes, 30, has three years and $39.6 million remaining on the contract extension he signed in December 2014 after finishing his first year in a Twins' uniform 16-10.
However, in two years since signing that extension, Hughes has battled injuries and has been unable to duplicate his strong season. He hit an all-time low last year when he was demoted to the bullpen after stumbling to 1-7 with a 5.95 ERA.
The velocity on his fastball had declined noticeably before his season came to a premature end after being struck by a line drive that cracked a bone in his leg.
Doctors believed the loss of speed on his fastball was caused by thoracic outlet syndrome – a nerve and vascular impingement in his throwing shoulder. Hughes underwent a procedure in July to remove the rib. He was playing long toss again by September.
After a fairly standard offseason that saw Hughes focus on his conditioning and fitness, he now has his goal set on returning to form.
"You never want to be the guy that's known as having a bad contract," Hughes told the Pioneer Press Wednesday. "You'd rather be the guy with a good deal."
Hughes was on the mound Wednesday throwing his first bullpen of the spring, hoping he can help the Twins rebound from an equally-bad season – the worst since the franchise moved to Minnesota.