Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler tore his right middle fingernail while putting on a pair of jeans late in the 2020 season. It was a cruel twist of fate for the Phillies and Wheeler, who were in the middle of a playoff race. Luckily for Philadelphia, Wheeler only missed one start.
On Oct. 12, Wheeler had surgery to repair the fingernail, though he had pitched through the injury at the end of the shortened season. He was still able to perform adequately after the injury using a faux fingernail. He posted a 4.05 ERA in three starts to end the season.
“No issue,” Wheeler said when asked if the fingernail is bothering him this spring.
“This a new team. I think they kinda wanted to dig in and figure it out as best as they could. I think that’s why we went and did what we did,” Wheeler said in reference to the decision to undergo surgery.
While the injury is not a problem right now, this is a recurring problem for Wheeler. He’s had surgery on his fingernail once before.
Wheeler has been suffering from this complication since his junior year of high school. Due to his pitch grip, his fingernail is prone to becoming disconnected from the nail bed.
The Phillies will likely continue to monitor Wheeler’s situation closely throughout his tenure with the team. Any club rightly fears injury issues when they sign a pitcher to a longtime deal, but few clubs would expect such a strange injury to nag a player for so long.
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