Andres Galarraga has beaten cancer for a second time and is hoping to get back to the major leagues.
Galarraga said yesterday from Caracas, Venezuela, that he recently underwent two three-week periods of chemotherapy and was hospitalized for 23 days for additional treatment for the same non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that sidelined him in 1999 when he was with the Atlanta Braves.
"It was very difficult. I had a lot of nausea," he said. "But I always was optimistic. . . . Thank God it worked, and I feel better than ever."
He said he was pronounced fit last week after a checkup at a Chicago medical facility.
"The news was excellent," he said.
Beaming and looking healthy at a news conference, the 42-year-old Galarraga said he wants to get back to the majors so he can reach 400 home runs. In 18 seasons, Galarraga has 398 homers. The first baseman known as "The Big Cat" hit .301 last season with 12 home runs and 42 RBI for the San Francisco Giants. He has also played for Montreal, St. Louis, Colorado, Atlanta and Texas during his career.
"I will play for anyone to get the home runs I need to reach 400," he said.
Galarraga said he plans to create a foundation for cancer victims and to work someday with Venezuelan youths hoping to make the majors.
"If I don't sign with a pro team, I'd like to work with children -- not only training them to play but also preparing them, like teaching them English, so they're ready," he said.
Galarraga said he hopes his experience "will help many people like me to overcome this battle. . . . For those who are suffering this, keep fighting and don't lose faith in God."
-- From News Services