19th-ranked prospect back on mound after open heart surgery

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DJM 18

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Jun 15, 2017
costa rica

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | January 21, 2019 10:00 AM
Thump thump. Thump thump.
The heartbeat in Gage Hinsz's chest had always felt normal. There was never any reason for him to think it wasn't.
Thump thump. Thump thump.
That was until Pirates team physician Dr. Edward Snell conducted a routine physical prior to the 2015 season and discovered the organization's 19th-ranked prospect had a heart murmur. The 2014 11th-round Draft pick and the team were proactive following the diagnosis, with annual checkups to monitor the issue. Last year, the tests came back the same they had the previous two years. After Hinsz was involved in a car accident on March 28, doctors administered a CT scan, which also came back normal. His echocardiogram, though, revealed a leaking bicuspid aortic valve, a condition severe enough to warrant open heart surgery.
Thump ... thump. Thump ... thump.

The initial diagnosis of a heart murmur was sobering, sure, but Hinsz never thought he'd have to go under the knife weeks after his 22nd birthday. Looking back to last offseason, though, he has an explanation as to why he consistently felt fatigued following his training sessions.


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