Chloe Grimes, the fan who battled cancer, reunites with Brett Phillips

Notes | A bond formed before an April 2022 game, and Phillips then delivered a dramatic home run. Wednesday, they met again at Tropicana Field.
Chloe Grimes, a 10-year-old who has battled cancer, chats pre-game with her favorite player, former Rays and current Angels outfielder Brett Phillips.
Chloe Grimes, a 10-year-old who has battled cancer, chats pre-game with her favorite player, former Rays and current Angels outfielder Brett Phillips. [ MARC TOPKIN | Times ]
Published Sept. 21|Updated Sept. 21

ST. PETERSBURG — Chloe Grimes had been to a few Rays games earlier this season.

But the 10-year-old cancer survivor was very excited to find out she was going Wednesday since it meant she would get to see her favorite player: Brett Phillips, the former Rays and now Angels outfielder.

“She was over the moon,” said her mother, Jacquie, while in the stands before the game. “She was so excited. She was happy. She helped make a sign for him and had all these great plans to get here today.

“She even wanted us to pick her up early from school and I was like, ‘No, we’ll get there in plenty of time.’ She was absolutely thrilled.”

Brett Phillips hugs his No. 1 fan, Chloe Grimes.
Brett Phillips hugs his No. 1 fan, Chloe Grimes. [ MARC TOPKIN | Times ]

Phillips was equally excited to visit pre-game with Chloe, whose previous battles with lung and thyroid cancer were highlighted during an April 22, 2022, game when he homered while she was being interviewed by Tricia Whitaker on Bally Sports Sun about her pre-game meeting with him.

“It was really good to see her,” Phillips said Wednesday. “She’s got a big smile on her face like she always does. I’m just very happy to hear that things are going well. She looks great. It’s really good to see her smile — even when she was going through all that, she had the same smile on her face, which is so cool.”

Chloe is doing very well, her parents said, having had surgery in the summer of 2022 to remove her thyroid with followup care.

“Officially in remission,” Jacquie said. “Cancer free again. Yay!”

Chloe wore her Rays jersey autographed by Phillips and held the sign she made that said “Brett is my Angel in the Outfield.”

Chloe Grimes holds her sign for Brett Phillips, who is now with the Angels organization.
Chloe Grimes holds her sign for Brett Phillips, who is now with the Angels organization. [ MARC TOPKIN | Times ]

Phillips said he is the fortunate one, that seeing Chloe smile through her battles “puts everything in perspective” in a season that hasn’t gone well, as he spent much of it in Triple A.

“It puts my career in perspective,” he said. “I’ve been grinding this year, but compared to the struggles a 10-year-old girl is dealing with, it’s nothing. So I’m glad they’re here. It was really good to see her.”

There had been a few visits since, but they had last seen each other in late December when they were honored in St. Louis at the Musial Awards show.

Luke Raley headed for MRI

Luke Raley and the Rays felt he was recovered from all issues stemming from Saturday’s freak batting practice accident when he was chasing a fly ball and collided with Manny Navarro, the Spanish language interpreter who helps the hitting coaches.

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But when Raley returned to action Wednesday, pinch-hitting in the seventh, he took two swings in popping out to the catcher and felt so bad he is headed for an MRI and a doctor’s office Thursday morning.

“My left arm just kind of went numb — just kind of had dead arm,” he said. “We’re going to try to get it figured out. .. It just doesn’t feel great. ... it’s not super painful. It’s just I feel like I have no strength.”

Manager Kevin Cash said it was “very likely” related to Saturday’s incident. “It’s just surprising that we did everything, treatment-wise, and he did everything in the cage and throwing and hitting and everything,” he said. “And then that last swing, it got him. You could tell he was grimacing pretty good.”

Pitching in

While giving up eight runs and 10 hits, Rays pitchers Aaron Civale, Jalen Beeks, Erasmo Ramirez and Andrew Kittredge also combined for 19 strikeouts, tying the team record for a nine-inning game, first set July 27, 2020 vs. the Braves. The overall team record is 24, in a 13-inning game against the Tigers Aug. 17, 2019. There were 30 strikeouts overall Wednesday and 374 total pitches. ... Reliever Jason Adam said he felt great the day after throwing live batting practice, with no issues from his previously strained oblique, and is ready to be activated.


The day after the announcement of a plan to build a new $1.3 million domed stadium near the current Trop site, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch threw out the first pitch, and he stayed hot, throwing a strike. ... More than 20 members of the Poynter Institute’s Write Field were pre-game guests and received new sneakers courtesy of the Rays Players and Family Initiative, with Pete and Lydia Fairbanks playing a lead role.

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