Ryan Dempster has a lot on his plate, and not just in making preparations to head to Mesa, Ariz., for spring training.
The Chicago Cubs pitcher is dealing with a personal battle as well, trying to help his 10-month old daughter deal with a serious ailment. (From the New York Times):
Ryan and Jenny Dempster’s 10-month-old daughter, Riley, was born with DiGeorge syndrome, a developmental disorder caused by a defective chromosome. She requires nearly constant medical attention.
Her digestive system has been affected. Unable to swallow, Riley spends mealtime tethered to a feeding tube, while another tube in her tiny throat allows for the draining of built-up secretions that could seep into her lungs and impair breathing. It’s her only manifestation of the illness.
Riley Dempster has spent more than three months in hospitals in Chicago, Philadelphia and Phoenix, and has had four surgeries. The Dempsters hope that physical therapy will help her strengthen the muscles used to swallow and that she will eventually learn to do so.
Meanwhile, Dempster and his wife have started a foundation to help raise awareness – and money – for the cause, in part to help others who can’t afford treatment.
You can read all about it here.
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After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”
Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.
Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.
Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.