BOSTON — David Ortiz learned the news from teammate Hanley Ramirez, who approached him crying in the Red Sox’s training room at Fenway Park. It was a harsh reminder of how fragile life can be.
Red Sox manager John Farrell announced before Friday’s game against the Seattle Mariners that he’s been diagnosed with Stage 1 lymphoma, which will prevent him from managing for the remainder of 2015. Farrell will step away to focus on chemotherapy treatment and recovery, but the skipper intends to return next season. And his team intends to stick with him every step of the way.
“John is an incredible human being,” Ortiz said Friday after Farrell’s shocking announcement. “In our situation, you’ve got 25 men in the room, and he’s got to put up with each one of us, every situation. I think it’s time for us to give him back that support and that much love that he gives to all of us.
“We’re going to ride through this with him. We’re going to always ask God for a blessing, you know, and make sure that he comes through this in the best way possible.”
Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia — the longest-tenured members of the Red Sox — stood in the interview as Farrell revealed to reporters he was diagnosed with a “highly curable” form of lymphoma while undergoing hernia surgery Monday in Detroit. Farrell welled up while discussing the support he’s received from Red Sox players, which speaks to the strength of the bonds created inside of a major league clubhouse.
“Pretty much all of us were in shock,” Ortiz said. “When they mention the word ‘cancer,’ it’s something that doesn’t matter what it comes from, it’s going to impact you. We’re going to give John all the support that we can give him so he can get through this and be back next year, back to normal.
“Hopefully everything goes well for him. We’ve got a big family around here and definitely when it comes down to health issues, you want to make sure that everything goes OK. The organization has taken a lot of responsibility on that, to make sure that John gets through it, the way it’s supposed to be.”
Bench coach Torey Lovullo will manage the Red Sox for the remainder of the season. Farrell’s absence certainly will be felt, though, especially by those who usually sit alongside him in Boston’s dugout.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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