Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

I just want you back and I want you to stay

I refuse to get all caught up in the negativity. The last thing you all need is another blog or column or story that rehashes what a day of suck Monday was. So you’re not getting that here. So what to write about? How can I make everyone forget how sucky Monday was?

I think Anthony Rizzo might be the answer.

As outlined in the wonderful Alex Speier piece linked above, Rizzo is a 19 year-old, Red Sox prospect who, a year ago while playing with the Greenville Drive, was diagnosed with Limited Stage Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Today, he’s five games into the Class A South Atlantic League season with four hits, five RBI and five walks. On Easter Sunday, he hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth inning to help Casey Kelly get his first win of the season and put the beat down on Greensboro 9-0.

Rizzo doesn’t seem worried that the tag of cancer survivor will follow him around, most recently giving Greenville Online an interview reliving what he went through in 2008.

As do most cancer patients, Rizzo struggled with the treatments early. He credits the support of his older brother John, then preparing for his senior year as an offensive lineman for the Florida Atlantic University football team, for helping him through the treatment.

“He was in Boston with me,” Rizzo said. “He was a big help up there. We had to fly down here together. He helped me through the plane flight because I was nauseous.”

That trip was only the beginning. Rizzo said things got worse.

“For the first couple months I was in my room, just nauseous,” he said. “I had no energy, just doing nothing. I was absolutely exhausted the entire time.”

Rizzo said his brother remained close by.

“Throughout the whole treatment he was a really big help. He was always there for me,” Rizzo said. “If I needed something, he would get it.”

Rizzo endured 12 chemo treatments. He found out in an interesting way he was cancer-free in late August.

“My brother had his opening game against Texas,” he said. “I was feeling fine, so I went out there to see it between treatments. We were on the plane, and the doctor had called after I took my test and he let my mom know.

“My mom was ecstatic on the plane. It was awesome.”

The Drive lost their first game of the season on April 9th, but Rizzo went 1-4 including a walk, an RBI and scoring a run. His teammates and coaches think he looks stronger than ever and, although five games is a small sample size, he seems to be having no problem slipping back into baseball mode.

The site hasn’t updated many stats yet, but you can find the “official” site of the Drive here and MilB’s Drive site (the more up-to-date one) here. Also, David Laurila has a great interview (that focuses on BASEBALL) with Anthony from Spring Training this year here.

Following Rizzo’s progress this year could certainly help make the crappiest day better!

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April 14, 2009 - Posted by | 2009

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