Baldelli: "An encouraging development"
Free agent OF Rocco Baldelli clarified the Rhode Island TV reports this morning, saying there has been an updated diagnosis that is "an encouraging development" and with adjustments to his current medication he hopes "to be on the field on a much more regular basis.''
Baldelli said he was not orginally "misdiagnosed" as reported by WLNE and WPRI, but that the original diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder was "the best diagnosis at the time.''
His doctor at the Cleveland Clinic has since reviewed further and more sophisticated testing that indicates his condition is a less-severe and treatable channelopathy. With a modification of medicine Baldelli is currently taking and having good results from, he is optimistic about his health and his baseball career.
"It's definitely an encouraging development,'' Baldelli said this morning from his Rhode Island home. "Knowing this is a treatable condition, I feel this is a very positive thing for me and my baseball career. With this less-severe diagnosis, I hope to be on the field on a much more regular basis.''
Channelopathies are diseases involving dysfunction of ion channels that can involve potassium, sodium, chloride and calcium, and other areas, according to MedicineNet.com.
Baldelli became a free agent at the end of the season, as the Rays previously declined his 2009 option. He is free to sign with any team, including the Rays. He has been in discussions with more than a half-dozen including the Red Sox (with whom he reportedly visited personally), Yankees, Reds, Phillies and Rays.
The encouraging medical report should increase his appeal to teams, though there will still be some question as to how often he will be be able to play and whether he can be used more often in the field or primarily as a DH and pinch-hitter. The Rays have said they are open to bringing him back, but they apparently want to first address their quest to add a front-line hitter to their lineup and then see how and if Baldelli still fits.
Baldelli, 27, was sidelined much of the season due to what was described as a muscle fatigue disorder then rejoined the Rays in August and hit .263 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 28 games during the regular season, then hit .200 with two homers and six RBIs in eight postseason games, including a key single in Game 7 of the ALCS and a game-tying home run in Game 5 of the World Series.