FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The 2016 season was mostly a forgettable one for Twins right-hander Phil Hughes, but he has a unique memento to remind him of what he went through with his season-ending surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome in July.
Hughes, who had his first rib removed to take pressure off the nerves in his right shoulder, kept the rib following the surgery as a keepsake. It's a souvenir from a year that saw him post a 5.95 ERA and also saw him break a bone in his left leg when he was hit above the knee by a line drive in early June.
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"Anybody would ask to keep it, right?" Hughes said with a laugh. "If they're going to take a bone out of my body, I'm going to want it."
Hughes said he asked Dr. Howard Saylor before the surgery if he could keep the rib but was initially turned down, only to wake up after the operation and find out he could take his rib home after all.
"I was woozy and about to be wheeled in, and I asked the doctor if I could keep it, and he said, 'Technically not,'" Hughes said. "But when I came out of surgery, my wife said they gave it to me."
Hughes, who has been throwing off a mound without any issues after going through a normal offseason routine, added that he's trying to decide what to do with the bone, including plating it with a rare metal.
"It's in a little jar of fluid," Hughes said. "I don't know what I want to do with it. I'm throwing around some ideas. We'll see."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.