February 23, 2013 in Sports

Vasquez full of optimism after ordeal

Geoff Baker Seattle Times
 
Gyorko, Padres slam M’s

Jedd Gyorko hit a grand slam off Hector Noesi in a six-run first inning, and the San Diego Padres rolled to a 9-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday in the spring training opener for both teams.

Noesi forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk to Will Venable, his 11th batter, and departed after 42 pitches. Noesi, the loser, allowed four earned runs, four hits and four walks while retiring just two batters. – AP

PEORIA, Ariz. – Anthony Vasquez had no regrets as the Seattle Mariners kicked off another Cactus League without him.

The left-handed starter, who got a brief, harsh lesson about life in the majors when he debuted with Seattle late in 2011, has since learned what real problems are all about. Vasquez, 26, nearly died here last November while training at the Mariners’ facility when some headaches and vision problems turned out to be from a ruptured blood vessel in his brain.

He underwent 5 hours of surgery and spent the rest of the winter recovering at his home in San Antonio, Texas. And on Friday, having returned to where everything in his life went sideways just three months ago, Vasquez said he’s grateful to be alive and for the chance to resume his baseball career.

“Trials are good, they help you,” Vasquez said. “I really look at it that way.”

Vasquez didn’t play for Seattle at all in 2012, when poor Class AAA numbers and a shoulder injury - which he was rehabilitating when the blood vessel ruptured - seemed just a tough carry-over from his dismal debut with the Mariners the prior year.

An unheralded, 18th round selection out of USC in 2009, Vasquez went 1-6 with an earned-run average of 8.90 in seven starts, yielding 13 home runs in just 29 1/3 innings. The Mariners took him off their 40-man roster and he’s been in the minors since.

He’s largely happy with having had the chance to taste the big leagues with Seattle two years ago, despite the numbers.

“If me giving up a few home runs in the big leagues is going to be the worst of my trials,” he said, “then I guess I have it pretty good.”

He has also been told there was nothing he could do about his AVM ahead of time; that the condition forms at birth and the symptoms often go undetected for years. Doctors have cleared him to resume playing baseball once the shoulder is ready.


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