Brogna back with Angels following cancer surgery
NEW YORK (AP) Rico Brogna received the phone call no one wants: He had been diagnosed with cancer.
''It's very sobering. It's immediate. It's gripping,'' the Los Angeles Angels coach said Saturday. ''Like when you're a kid and you get called to the office ... What did I do wrong? Pit in your stomach. Magnify that times a hundred.''
Brogna returned to the Angels this weekend following surgery on May 13 for testicular cancer. The 45-year-old, a nine-year major league veteran, said doctors told him the cancer was encapsulated, his lymph nodes are clean and his prognosis is good. He is not slated to undergo radiation, and he anticipates having CT scans every three months.
He described his experience as a ''weird emotional roller-coaster ride.''
''When I found out - you have a strong faith, I'm a Christian. It brings me closer to my faith, and I trust,'' he said. ''But an hour later you're crying because I think of my kids. You think, all right, am I going to die? Is it going to be one of those? If I'm getting chemo, I'm going to lose my hair. You just think of your family.''
Brogna said he noticed a growth during spring training but waited to have it checked. He learned of his diagnosis in the first inning of a May 8 game and left with play still underway.
He rejoined the team Friday and decided to speak publicly in an effort to encourage people to not wait to have suspect growths checked.
''I'm not into the drama, but I also realize that I may have an opportunity to help somebody,'' he said.
Brogna hit .269 with 106 homers for Detroit, the New York Mets, Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta in a career that ended in 2001. He coached in the minor leagues and also scouted for the Phillies and Arizona before joining the Angels last year as a special assistant to the general manager.
''When you're behind the scenes, sometimes you're lost in that shuffle. But not Rico,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''We missed him while he was gone, and we're thankful that he's healthy and ready to go. And he's and important part of what we do.''
Brogna, who lives in Woodbury, Connecticut, said he welcomed ''the normalcy'' of rejoining the team. His mind had wandered in the days before he left the Angels.
''I apologized to staff and players because I know I was in a fog before it. I wasn't acting myself,'' he said. ''No excuses.''