Rebounding from brain aneurysm, Sox pitcher returns for ceremonial first pitch

by Cat Garcia

The last time right-hander Danny Farquhar was seen in the dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field was on April 20. He had just unexpectedly collapsed after complaining of a headache was being transported to Rush Medical Center where it was later revealed that he had suffered a brain aneurysm and underwent immediate surgery. A statement was issued that Farquhar was in stable, but critical condition, and it was hard for most folks to keep their mind from bracing for the worst.

“Honestly, we were all surprised and taken aback we didn’t really know what was going on,” manager Rick Renteria recalls of that evening. “I know that when he was out here we were all little anxious to make sure that he was going to get cared for … the EMTs came in and they put him on the gurney and stabilized him to the best of their ability as far as I know and obviously they did a great job because he’s been able to get to where he’s at right now, but there was a sense of anxiousness through the evening.”

Fast-forward to June 1, just six weeks since the incident occurred, and Farquhar has not just survived, but he has persevered through something that fellow bullpen pitcher Nate Jones noted had the odds against him.

“The first night that it happened everybody was obviously just praying for him,” Jones said. “We started checking up like what it was and what happens to people and the numbers and odds were against him, and for him to be back, to be alive, is amazing. For him to be walking, talking, doing everything, getting ready to throw out a first pitch, that’s obviously a miracle. It’s pretty special.”

Farquhar conquered his ceremonial pitch, the first baseball he’s thrown since his outing on April 20, and stood triumphantly smiling on the mound as his guest catcher for the evening, none other than Jones, pumped his fists in the air before the two shared an emotional embrace on the field.

Jones and Farquhar share a special relationship, and Farquahr notes that Jones was an integral part of this step towards his progression. “I just knew Nate Jones would help me out with anything,” Farquhar said. “He would dive if he had to so that ball wouldn’t hit the ground. I just wanted the challenge a little bit of throwing it and it was very special. I’ve never thrown out a first pitch. I’ve caught plenty of them. It was an exciting moment.”

Jones says he was extremely excited when the organization approached him to be the guest catcher for the evening. “I said yes, definitely I want to do that for sure.” Jones said. “It’s going to be a pretty special event.”

The emotion was felt throughout the stands as fans cheered for Farquhar when stepped into view on the grass at Guaranteed Rate Field for the first time since April 20. “I think for the fans to see him just reconnects him with them because he’s been out of sight recovering,” Renteria said. “I think it’s nice to be able to see him and know that he is on the right path and he’s recovering very well and that they get to put their eyes on him again and know that everything is possible.”

As far as Farquhar’s future in baseball, he’s a perservent man and intends to continue to play the game he loves. “When I woke up in the ICU, I was like ‘I can’t believe they put on the 60 day. I’ll be ready to go in a week,’ not knowing I’m on medication and a bunch of crazy things happening in my head.”

Over the last three weeks, Farquhar says he has began rehab and training. “I’m excited to [return],” Farquhar said. “I’ve been cleared to throw a baseball, I’m just not sure when it’s gonna happen. I’ve been doing workouts for like, three and a half weeks now.”

Farquhar says his trainer, who was in attendance Friday night, has been pushing him to progress. This week he worked out everyday except Memorial Day. “I’ve been working out for an hour and a half, and it’s not strength related, I’m not allowed to do heavy weights because that raises your blood pressure and that’s one thing that I need to be super careful with, but as far as aerobically I’m feeling really strong. I just need to get to that point where I can, you know, big-league level compared to other levels of baseball, it’s a big difference. I think I’ll be back there one day.”

It’s well known throughout the Sox clubhouse that Farquhar loves his craft. “It’s a special thing because he’s going to be out there doing something that he loves and that he’s dearly missing right now,” Jones said before the pitch. “Obviously, this family and brotherhood we have here and to see him out there with us is pretty special.”