As one would expect, the news of season-ending surgery was devastating for Alex Reyes. He immediately broke into tears, which continued as he drove from the doctor’s office to the field and the met with the training staff.
But the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher didn’t have to look far to find the inspiration to gather himself and take the challenge head on.
“Kind of getting away from the field a little bit and remembering there are some things that are more important in life than this,” began Reyes. “My daughter, a few years ago, she was in the hospital and she battled with cancer and she battled with a tumor. So I felt like if my daughter fought for her life, $h*% I could fight for my career and that’s pretty much what’s been in my head and remembering that I’ve still got time.
“There’s work to do, but I’m ready for it. Whatever my career puts in front of me, I’m going to attack it. I’m going to try and give my 100% no matter what and hopefully, I’ll be back in this clubhouse next year and this will all be behind.”
Reyes shares that now 2-year old Aleyka responded well to the chemotherapy and her tumor has shrunk to a very small size and now the hope is it will disappear altogether as she continues to grow older.
As for Reyes and his recovery from the surgery to repair his torn lat, he will spend the next six weeks in a sling. Then he will work on shoulder mobility and start playing catch in about four months.
Fully aware of the task in front of him, Reyes is still in disbelief that he needed surgery. He described the fatigue he felt after throwing in Memphis as just a little soreness–which he thought was a product of building up his pitch count. Same thing for his last outing in Milwaukee.
“I didn’t think it was something this serious,” said Reyes. “After the game, my arm felt a little fatigued and unfortunately, this is what happened.”
He also doesn’t believe the additional pitches he threw at a higher velocity affected his injury.
“Nah, I doubt it,” he said. “Like I said, I didn’t feel any different after the game. It was just a little sore.”
So now it’s more patience, inspiration from his daughter, and drawing on the experience of what he went through to return from Tommy John surgery.
“Those rehab starts, I was able to get under belt in the minors, they drive me still to this day,” said Reyes. “I know there’s a lot I’ve got to do to get back out on the field but I just understand these are some of the bumps on the road that come with my career.”
— Alex Reyes (@AlexReyes_67) February 16, 2017
photo credit: Jeff Curry, Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports