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Former Billings Scarlets pitcher Gage Hinsz recovering from open-heart surgery

Posted at 3:17 PM, May 09, 2018

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Gage Hinsz, the former Billings Scarlets pitcher now in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, is recovering from open-heart surgery. Hinsz had surgery Tuesday at Cleveland Clinic to repair a failing aortic valve.

Hinsz, a Billings West High School graduate, was a strong-armed, right-handed pitcher for the Scarlets, leading up to his selection in the 2014 Major League Baseball first-year player draft. The Pirates drafted him in the 11th round and have moved him around their minor league teams the past four years.

Hinsz has a minor heart murmur, which he has annually monitored by a cardiologist during spring training. During the year’s routine appointment doctors discovered Hinsz’s aortic valve was failing both structurally and functionally, restricting blood flow.

Dr. Lars Svennson performed surgery on Tuesday to repair the valve. Hinsz’s mother, Shelley Salmi, said he is recovering at Cleveland Clinic and hoping to be moved out of intensive care Wednesday.

The Pirates expect Hinsz to make a full recovery and to be back on the pitching mound next spring. Since it was a non-baseball injury, though, Hinsz must independently cover all medical expenses that aren’t covered under his health insurance policy. Due to the major surgery and long recovery, expenses could become substantial, so Kevin Angland, a longtime friend of Hinsz’s, has set up a GoFundMe Page to help raise money to help cover those costs. To donate, please click here.