Jason Kendall, who was expected to soon begin a rehab assignment in the minors, has instead suffered a major setback with his shoulder and will undergo another surgery.
Manager Ned Yost said the procedure would knock him for the rest of this year and perhaps all of next season, potentially ending Kendall’s career.
Kendall first hoped to return in April after undergoing surgery to repair his rotator cuff last September, but his shoulder never proved strong enough. He resumed hitting last month, and the hope was that he’d begin catching in the minors this month.
The 37-year-old Kendall probably won’t go down without a fight, so even if he is ruled out for next year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him show up in camp with some club in 2013. However, if his shoulder is shot, then he’s not going to be of any use to a major league team. He hasn’t been a decent hitter in five years, and all of the leadership in the world won’t make him worth a roster spot if he’s not going to be a throw out a would-be basestealer now and again.
Kendall, once one of the game’s best catchers with Pirates, is a lifetime .288/.366/.378 hitter with 75 homers and 189 steals in 15 seasons. He ranks fifth all-time with 2,025 games caught.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.