Mariners pitcher undergoes life-saving brain surgery - KMSP-TV

Mariners pitcher undergoes life-saving brain surgery

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Batter up! Spring training is underway across the valley. But a Seattle Mariners pitcher wasn't sure he would be able to play after serious brain surgery.

It's hard to believe this young ball player was at death's door.

Anthony Vasquez plays for the Mariners. His symptoms started with headaches and vision problems, slowing down his pitches.

"I knew something was going on and it wasn't good," he says.

Vasquez didn't know it at the time but a blood vessel burst in his brain and it was leaking. It was life threatening.

"Surgery wasn't too crazy, especially when you have something going on in your head, there wasn't too many options," he says.

The next day he was on an operating table at Barrow Neurological Institute. Dr. Robert Spetzler, a major league player in his own profession, took a portion of his skull and repaired it. It took 5 and a half hours -- a very difficult surgery.

"They are in a sense like a bomb and you have to take off hundreds of little wires, anyone of them can create a problem," said Dr. Robert Spetzler.

Three months later Vasquez is back with the team, but he's still rehabbing. Still, he feels like he's ready to play ball.

"It is frustrating to see guys fired up and ready to go and I am on the sideline. It's part of the game."

He hopes to get a second chance with the Mariners, but more important he has a second chance at life.

Vasquez has not been cleared to play yet, but he is grateful to have been here in Arizona and have a doctor like Robert Spetzler at Barrow Neurological Institute.

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