Top Royals prospect to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

Another pitcher is heading for surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.

Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who was rated as the No. 2 prospect behind Raul Mondesi Jr. in the Royals' system by both MLB.com and Baseball America coming into the season, will soon undergo the season-ending procedure. Both Phil Hughes and Matt Harvey recently had surgery for TOS as well.

MLB.com ranked Zimmer as the 56th-best prospect in all of baseball before the season despite a long and scary injury history. He has not pitched a full season since 2011 due to a series of elbow, biceps, and shoulder injuries.

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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome has ended Kyle Zimmer's season. USATSI

Zimmer, 24, was the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft out of the University of San Francisco. He has thrown only 222 1/3 innings in the minors since being draft, most of which (108 1/3) came in 2013. MLB.com's free scouting report explains why Zimmer is still so highly regarded despite his injury history:

Zimmer still has the stuff to be a frontline starter if he can stay healthy ...His fastball usually sits at 92-95 mph and reaches 97 as a starter, and he has hit triple digits in the past. His hammer curveball can make hitters look absolutely silly, and he has flashed a solid slider and changeup ... Zimmer is a quality athlete who repeats his delivery well and fills the strike zone.

The Royals planned to ease Zimmer back into action as a reliever this season before transitioning him back to the rotation in the second half. He has the stuff to be an impact pitcher, even out of the bullpen, though he has to stay healthy to have a chance at a future in MLB.

TOS is a nerve condition. The surgery involves the removal of a rib to relieve pressure on a bundle of nerves near the air pit. TOS is potentially very serious and can end careers if not treated promptly.

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