Mike McGuire's dream of pitching with the team he grew up rooting for was delayed recently, when a blood clot was discovered in his non-throwing arm. Surgery was required to repair the issue and McGuire has been kept out of spring training until he recovers.
The right-handed hurler, whose contract was purchased by the Phillies from the Sussex Skyhawks out of the independent Can-Am League last July, experienced discoloration, with the skin turning purple and blue throughout his left arm, during a routine workout in early February.
Phillies team doctor Michael Ciccotti examined McGuire and made the call to direct him toward a vascular surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. The procedure, that McGuire endured, involved the removal of the first rib on his left side, which actually pinched a vein and resulted in the clot.
The 24-year-old McGuire first noticed a problem in January during a gym session. After raising his heart rate, he noticed multiple blue spots on his left arm. Once McGuire cooled down, though, the pigmentation returned to normal and he disregarded it until the discoloration became too significant to ignore, some weeks later.
Recovery for McGuire began with a 10-day hospital stay, and rest is what physicians have prescribed McGuire at this stage.
"I'll be taking Spring Training off and I'll head down (to Clearwater) in April (for extended Spring Training)," said McGuire in an exclusive interview. "I'm only 2 weeks out of surgery right now, so I'm just doing limited activities, like riding a bike and using some weights...just things to keep my legs in shape. But I'm just trying to stay away from strenuous activity with the upper body."
The 6-feet-7-inch, 240-pound McGuire, was previously a farm hand with the Indians, after being drafted by Cleveland in 2008.
In 18 games with the Phillies' Class A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws last season, McGuire posted a 1-1 record with a 2.67 ERA and 6 saves while helping the club lock down their second consecutive South Atlantic League title.
McGuire, a graduate of the University of Delaware, is being monitored closely, as the likelihood for the clot to reform is high in the first month following surgery. McGuire, who is currently taking blood thinners, will return to the doctor next week and will be subjected to an ultra sound scan to ensure the clot has not returned.
The Swarthmore, PA native, McGuire, described the syndrome as non-life threatening, and was frustrated that the ailment came at a bad time, as he was preparing to begin his first full season in the organization he always wished he could play for.
Once McGuire is cleared to resume game action, he is likely to pitch for High A level Clearwater or with Double A Reading this season. No matter where he is assigned, McGuire's lifelong goal of pitching for the Phillies and helping them win a World Series title hasn't changed one bit.
"Whatever level I'm at, I'm still going to go out and perform. I'm not going to be discouraged or overexcited depending on where they send me. When I get that opportunity to pitch, I just want to go out there and do my job," McGuire said.
The time frame for McGuire's recovery is clear, as he has set a target date for active competition.
"My goal is to get back (to actively facing batters) by May 1st, where (I'll) only be missing three weeks of the season," McGuire stated.
McGuire's main focus, though, is to make a considerable impact within the Phillies organization this year and show that he's got what it takes to climb the ladder toward the big leagues.
"I want to be that guy that pushes those guys in the front office, and make a statement that I can compete at the Major League level," McGuire said. "I'm kind of at that point, with my age, that I feel I've matured enough and I can definitely help the Phillies win ball games, especially being in the back end of the bullpen.
"This is just a minor setback and this definitely doesn't effect my short or long-term goals."
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