Former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Darren Daulton enjoyed his return to the ballpark on Friday.
“Oh my God, all my friends are here,” Daulton said upon entering the press room at Citizens Bank Park.
Daulton, who is participating in the Phillies’ annual alumni weekend, spoke publicly for the first time since his brain cancer diagnosis in June.
The 51-year-old, now a radio personality in Philadelphia, was diagnosed with two brain tumors.
Both were removed after brain surgery on July 1, but nine days later Daulton was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that also took the lives of his former teammate Tug McGraw and former coach John Vukovich.
“It was kind of surprising when it happened,” Daulton said. “I remember being on 97.5 The Fanatic with a show this season (and) there was a couple of appearances that showed up when I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I was having trouble explaining a little bit of baseball and when I’ve been doing this for 20 years of my life, it was a little difficult.”
Daulton had trouble pronouncing several words, a problem he admitted he has to deal with on a daily basis.
“I have a little bit of a problem during the day every now and then when I can’t understand what – I mean I know what I’m going on – but I can’t, I have a problem with talking to myself,” he said. “This eventually will get better.”
A 14-year major league veteran, Daulton spent nearly his entire career in Philadelphia before being traded to the Florida Marlins midway through the 1997 season, his final one.
Daulton and the Marlins went on to win the World Series – the only one of his career – but he still considers Philadelphia his home.
“It feels like it’s my family,” he said. “I really enjoy this, and this weekend we’re going to be a blast.”
Clearing the bases
Struggling San Francisco Giants left-hander Barry Zito (4-8, 5.09 ERA) will not make his scheduled start Sunday at Tampa Bay. Right-hander Guillermo Moscoso will take Zito’s spot. … In his first game with the Detroit Tigers, Jose Iglesias replaced Miguel Cabrera, not Jhonny Peralta. Cabrera was out for a second straight game – he also missed Wednesday’s game against Washington with a strained lower abdomen.