San Diego Padres starting pitcher Woody Williams has an aneurysm under his right armpit and doctors will recommend surgery, another huge setback for a staff already besieged by injuries.
The aneurysm was discovered during an angiogram on Tuesday morning, the day after Williams pitched 8 1-3 innings in a 5-2 loss to the Florida Marlins.
Williams had reported numbness in his throwing hand for the last five of his six starts this year, and trainer Todd Hutcheson said a blood clot broke off the aneurysm at some point and caused Williams' ring finger to turn white and cold the last couple starts.
The Padres say Williams' condition is similar to that of New York Yankees pitcher David Cone, who had surgery to repair an aneurysm in his right shoulder in 1996. Cone missed four months, but no-hit Oakland for seven innings in his first start back.
Dr. Jan Fronek said having surgery will be up to Williams, but doctors will recommend that he have it. If a non-surgical treatment is used, the same problem may return, Fronek said.
Williams underwent tests during the weekend that showed he had good circulation through his hand. He wasn't in danger when he pitched Monday night, Hutcheson said.
"The risk, according to what our doctors told us, was relatively low," Hutcheson said. "Woody wanted to pitch and he went out there and we just kept a close eye throughout the game and his symptoms last night were about like they had been the start before."
When the earlier tests didn't explain Williams' symptoms, doctors were concerned that he had a problem with a blood vessel closer to his shoulder, so they did the angiogram, Fronek said.
The Padres started the season with four pitchers on the disabled list, and haven't gotten any of them back yet.
Starter Carlton Loewer fell out of a hunting blind and broke his left ankle in January, setup man Steve Montgomery remains sidelined by a strained right shoulder, reliever Rodney Myers has a partially torn right rotator cuff that wasn't diagnoses until after he had been obtained in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, and reliever Randy Myers is still sidelined after undergoing rotator cuff surgery last year.
Rodney Myers could be back by Friday, but he will eventually require surgery. Starter Brian Boehringer is on the disabled list with a strain in his right shoulder, which was surgically repaired last year, and setup man Donne Wall is just getting over tendinitis and can't pitch on consecutive days.
"When injuries happen to your pitching staff, it's tougher," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's hard to replace. There's just not that much good pitching going around. And now you're trying to replace a couple of starters and your setup man. It's started to come back and haunt us."