Feb 16, 2013, 10:03 AM EDT
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a really interesting profile yesterday on Juan Sandoval, a 32-year-old reliever who has been invited to Rays’ camp. He’s trying to keep his baseball career alive despite the fact that he’s completely blind in his right eye.
Sandoval once had some promise as a pitching prospect with the Mariners, but his life changed in February of 2006. While he was out to dinner one night in his hometown in the Dominican Republic, a restaurant security guard and a drunken old man got into a scuffle which resulted in gunfire. Sandoval turned his head to look and was hit with shotgun pellets, including three in his right eye. Doctors were able to save his eye following a seven-hour surgery, but not his vision.
Sandoval actually made it back to baseball less than a year later, but he has understandably had some trouble adjusting. He has bounced around quite bit since then, spending the past two seasons in the Mexican League, but he made it on the Rays’ radar after Joel Peralta placed a call to executive vice president Andrew Friedman over the winter.
Sandoval isn’t going to make the Rays out of spring training, but he has received some rave reviews from manager Joe Maddon and could begin the season with Triple-A Durham. While you wouldn’t blame Sandoval if he had some bitterness about his hard luck, he certainly isn’t showing it.
“Being honest with you, if I could change something that happened in my life, I would not change anything,” Sandoval said. “Everything that has happened has made me the person that I am right now. And I’m a really happy person. …
“This opportunity is something I was dreaming of. And I’m here.”
Not sure how you can’t root for this guy.
- Phillies wanted Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias from Dodgers for Cole Hamels 0
- Matt Cain is going to pay a visit to Dr. Andrews 3
- The Nationals and Orioles dispute over TV money is about to explode 61
- The Red Sox are expected to deal Jon Lester and the Pirates are a “dark horse” 29
- And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights 48
- VIDEO: Derek Jeter passes Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on all-time hits list 68
- Ray Rice is awful, but let’s not pretend baseball has a great record on domestic violence 91
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 50
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (201)
- Verducci: baseball should think about an “illegal defense” rule to combat shifts (165)
- “Caucasians” t-shirts are hot sellers on Canadian Indian reservations (157)
- Yankees acquire Chase Headley from Padres (108)
- Must-click link: sexual depravity — and possibly rape — in the minor leagues (99)