Curt Schilling reveals that he was diagnosed with mouth cancer, blames smokeless tobacco


When Curt Schilling was diagnosed with cancer back in February he did not reveal the form of cancer. He and his family have kept almost everything about it to themselves, actually, as one might quite reasonably wish to do.

However, Schilling is talking about it now. He announced today during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that he was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Thankfully, he is currently in remission.

But this story is not going to end here. Not after this:

We have already lost one Hall of Famer this year to cancer that, he believed anyway, was attributable to smokeless tobacco. That a should-be and likely will-be Hall of Famer is now coming forward and saying that he believes smokeless tobacco threatened his life should only increase the volume on this long overdue wakeup call to baseball players who continue to use the junk.

Here’s hoping Schilling continues back on the mend and here’s hoping that his coming forward helps prevent future cases like his.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.