Rays rookie Ryan Brett playing with one kidney

Ryan Brett had a kidney removed in November 2012.
Ryan Brett had a kidney removed in November 2012.
Published April 19, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Friday's callup was a significant accomplishment for INF Ryan Brett.

He isn't very big, measuring barely 5 feet 9. He grew up in the Seattle area, far from a baseball hotbed.

And he has only one kidney.

Brett, 23, had his left kidney removed in November 2012, after repeated episodes of pain while playing in the minors led to the discovery of a significant blockage in his ureter, the tube from the kidney to the bladder. (Due to a complication, he also had to have hernia surgery two months later.)

Brett said he was assured by doctors he was not taking a great risk by continuing his career.

"They said I'm perfectly fine playing," Brett said. "And, honestly, I feel a lot better. Knowing I won't have any more pain there is awesome."

Brett does take some precautions to preserve his remaining kidney, limiting his intake of alcohol and painkillers. He made his debut Saturday, popping out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh then drawing a two-out walk in the ninth.

JASO DELAYED: DH/OF John Jaso's left wrist, now considered more sprained than bruised, has been slow to heal, and he may not be back in the lineup until mid May.

"I can't even really lift a bat with my left hand, so I don't know where it's going to be as far as length of time until I can even swing off a tee or anything," Jaso said Saturday.

The injury, sustained sliding into second on opening day, is similar to a high ankle sprain. Swelling has subsided and a follow-up X-ray confirmed there is no break, though there is bruising.

"It's going in the right direction," Jaso said. "Strength, range of motion and pain is what I'm dealing with now."

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder tendinitis) is scheduled for 70 pitches over four-five innings today in Jacksonville in his third rehab start. How he does in the game for Double-A Montgomery, and how he feels a day or two after, will determine if he is ready to rejoin the Rays and start Friday or Saturday or needs to make another rehab start.

LHP Jake McGee (left shoulder surgery) will throw a bullpen session today and if all goes well will head out Monday to Triple-A Durham, with plans to make at least three rehab appearances and rejoin the Rays as soon as May 1.

RHP Alex Colome (recovering from pneumonia) threw a bullpen session Saturday and will make another rehab start Tuesday, scheduled for five innings/75 pitches. … 1B James Loney (oblique) is progressing well and on target to rejoin the Rays for the weekend series with Toronto. … INF Nick Franklin (oblique) is still limited swinging right-handed and appears likely for an early May return at best.

TO THE MATT: Rookie RHP Matt Andriese figures to be more comfortable for his second big-league start today, in part because it's on a normal five-day schedule after an erratic workload leading up to his first.

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"I've always been a starter," he said. "So I think getting in that routine, getting on that daily workout plan, throwing a bullpen, being able to focus and settle in on what I need to do is huge."

Andriese will have some support, as his father, Greg, flew in from California and his brother, David, a Pirates minor-leaguer, is up from Bradenton.

GOOD DEEDS: As part of the team's Breaking Barriers celebration, Rays players wore Jackie Robinson-themed "42" T-shirts for batting practice and staff during the game. The 42 jerseys from Wednesday's game in Toronto are being auctioned via with proceeds to the Monte Irvin scholarship fund. … The Rays today will "retire" the 285 radio call sign of Tarpon Springs police officer Charles Kondek, who was killed in the line of duty in December.

MISCELLANY: CF Kevin Kiermaier was not in the lineup because he was sick. … Evan Longoria was back at third base after a Friday DH day following a painful hit by pitch Thursday in Toronto. … Sunday games have been moved up to a 1:10 first pitch.