Rocco Baldelli is blessed with incredible God-given athletic ability.
But he’s been cursed with rotten luck.
(photo by Kelly O’Connor)
When he was in the 9th grade, the Rhode Island native broke his leg playing basketball. The damage was so severe that doctors thought he had been in a car accident.
In high school, he tested positive for mononucleosis and Lyme disease and missed the state baseball championship.
After playing nearly every game of his first two major league seasons, Rocco injured his knee playing baseball with his younger brother in the off-season in November of 2004 and needed surgery to fix the ACL.
In 2007, Baldelli injured his hamstring in May and went on the DL. When he was on the verge of returning to the big leagues, he re-injured the hamstring and missed most of the season.
But all of that was nothing compared to what Rocco dealt with last season as he missed the first 4-plus months of the season due to a condition that causes fatigue and slows muscle recovery.
So after all of that, does Rocco ever say, “Why me?”
“I’ve dealt with a lot of different injuries, but you don’t ask yourself ‘Why?’ That would be wasting time and I’m not really one to feel sorry for myself for any reason,” Baldelli told me. “I think it’s best to move on, and if you’re hurt, you do whatever you can do to get back as soon as possible.”
That’s what he’s doing now in a rehab stint with Pawtucket. Rocco was placed on the disabled list on August 6th with a bruised ankle, but it’s fine now and he is likely to return to Boston on Friday when he’s eligible to come off of the DL.
“I feel good,” Rocco said. “Hopefully I can come out here and see some live pitching for a couple of days and then rejoin the Red Sox in a few days. My body feels fine and I feel like I’m ready to go. I’ve felt pretty good this year. Early this year I had a slight hamstring strain, but I haven’t had anything major where I was really worried.”
His luck is bound to change sooner or later, right?
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Pawtucket’s longest homestand in more than 10 years got off to a disappointing start on Tuesday. After scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to tie the game and force extra innings, the PawSox allowed a run in the top of the 10th inning to lose 7-6.
The PawSox will try to snap a 7-game losing streak on Wednesday in a rare day/night doubleheader.
I hope you’ll join us for the radio calls. We’ll be on the air at 11:50 in the morning for game one, and 6:50 at night for game two.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.