Tampa Bay Rays OF/DH Rocco Baldelli is headed to the disabled list again. He has been listed as indefinite. But this time Baldelli's tulmultuous and injury marred career may be in jeopardy. One thing is nearly certain - barring a miracle, Baldelli has seen his last days as a Tampa Bay Ray. The Rays will not pick up his $6 million option and will instead invoke his buyout for $4 million and essentially end his tenure in St Petersburg.
Although the official reason for getting added to the DL is "fatigue", Baldelli said he had some type of "metabolic, and/or mitochondrial abnormalities, basically along the lines my body isn't making or producing ATP the right way, and therefore not allowing my muscles to work as they should and recover like they're supposed to on a day-to-day basis." source
I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on AGM - Simply put, the Krebs Cycle is not something you want to have issues with. It is the key to energy production for all your cells, not just your voluntary muscles. If it affects his muscles, it is or will probably have an affect his organs as well.
This comes with sadness and prayers for his future - whether it involves baseball or not.
Rocco is truly a class individual and had so much potential with his supreme athleticism. He has a pristine swing, blazing speed and outstanding baseball instincts - but he could never stay on the field long enough to put it together for a whole season after his 2003 rookie season.
When he was healthy, he invoked comparisons to Hall of Famers Tris Speaker, Carl Yastrzemski and to another Italian outfielder - Joe DiMaggio. He was nominated in 2006 for the Boston branch of BBWAA "Tony Coniglia Award" for Major Leaguers who overcome adversity, demonstrating resilience.
Rocco was a three sport star in High School in his native Rhode Island. He sported blazing speed and a 40 inch vertical leap. But he could never seem to shake "the injury bug" and now we may now why - although his exact condition is still a mystery.
Baldelli has traveled the country meeting with specialists in various medical fields in hopes to find a proper diagnosis for his condition and surely hopes to one day stand healthy on a baseball field once again.
After starting his MLB career with a blazing start, Baldelli eventually missed all of 2005 with Ulnar ligament and ACL surgeries. He missed the majority of 2006 with a hamstring injury and also most of 2007 with nagging problems in his hamstrings and legs.
I am proud to say I had the chance to meet Rocco personally and enjoyed the rare opportunity to see him play some games healthy. I only hope for his and his family's sake that whatever his health issues are, he can get them straightened out and live a long, vibrant, exuberant life.
This guy deserves better, but today baseball takes a backseat to health. My prayers and the prayers of all the fans which you have crossed paths are with you and your health, Rocco.
Now we'll only be able to wonder "What if..."