Often, the greatest power of sports is distraction. For a few hours, players and fans can have tunnel vision and forget about “real life.” For Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris, baseball offered a distraction from real life in a big way.
On Monday, Norris anounced via Instagram, that he has thyroid cancer. He wrote: “Flying back & forth from Toronto to Buffalo after pitching to have more and more tests done it was finally concluded that the growth is considered malignant.. Meaning it contained the C word.. cancer.”
The pitcher, who until now was probably most famous for living in his van during spring training, has pitched 66.2 big league innings with a 3-2 record and a 3.93 ERA.
The left-hander was traded during the season, moving from Toronto to Detroit as part of the Blue Jays’ package to acquire David Price from the Tigers. Within his Instagram post, Norris noted that he was diagnosed while playing for the Blue Jays, but it was determined that he could play the season out and have surgery after the season. That time has come.
Also in his post, Norris wrote: “Just Keep Playing. Baseball kept me sane. Regardless of results on the field, I forgot about it when I was between the lines. [After all], I was just trying to get the heck out of AAA.”
He did get out of AAA after being traded – and after being informed he had cancer – long enough to make eight appearances with Detroit. In a Tigers uniform, Norris pitched 36.2 innings, with a 3.68 ERA, and a 2-1 record.
Norris did not say specifically when his surgery would take place, but it is expected to happen soon. No details were given regarding a timetable for recovery. Let’s hope the surgery is successful and Norris (and his van) are ready for spring training next season.