Nationals utility man Mark DeRosa’s father, Jack, has died after a prolonged battle with cancer, Manager Davey Johnson said. DeRosa had visited his father frequently over the past month as the cancer, which Jack DeRosa had seemingly beaten five years prior, returned and grew worse.

“That’s too real for me right now,” DeRosa said in late May, while visiting the Nationals in Philadelphia, a short drive from his family’s home in New Jersey.

It has been a trying first year with the Nationals for DeRosa, who in short order has become one of the most popular figures inside the Nationals’ clubhouse. DeRosa, 37, has been on the disabled list since April 29. He has toggled between his father, whose conditioned worsened in a New Jersey hospital, and trying to recover from a strained oblique.

DeRosa had traveled with the Nationals to Toronto. He likely rejoin the Nationals on Friday to continue his rehab, Johnson said.

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