By Jon Weisman
This got lost in the September shuffle, but here’s a story about the time Chris Withrow nearly passed out.
Withrow, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed June 3, was at Dodger Stadium in late September, the week the Dodgers clinched the National League West. It was a nice opportunity to catch up with the 25-year-old righty, who has a 2.73 ERA and 71 strikeouts in his 56-inning big-league career.
Predictably, Withrow is eager to back into action, but he has months and months to go before potentially returning to action next summer. When there’s baseball on TV, Withrow said he has to remind himself, “Sit down and enjoy the game — take a little of a mental break and try to enjoy the best you can. It’s the toughest part.”
The trip to Los Angeles gave the big Texan an opportunity to reconnect with his teammates in a way beyond the usual texts. (“It’s good to be back in the mix with the guys,” Withrow said. “The old jokes start flowing around.”) But although in-person contact with the Dodgers has been rare, Withrow did get to hang with fellow surgery recoveree (and now free agent) Chad Billingsley while rehabbing in Arizona.
It was Billingsley, also in Los Angeles that same week in September for the NL West clinch, who casually mentioned about Withrow, “I got to see him pass out.”
“Come on, man!” responded Withrow. “Why you got to bring that up?”
Then Withrow and Billingsley shared the story, which took place in June …
“I got my cast off,” Withrow said.
“I was so excited,” Billingsley said.
“He was so excited,” Withrow continued. “He was saying, ‘Oh man, you’re gonna feel so good once you get that thing off.’ I think that’s when it really sunk in that it had happened. I just sat there and watched it all come off. The next thing you know, I’m white.”
“Pale white,” Billingsley emphasized.
“Sweating bullets,” said Withrow.
“I said, ‘Dude, you all right?” Billingsley remembered, laughing. “You want a water or something?”
“I said, ‘Please, get me … get me a glass of water,” Withrow said.
Both Withrow and Billingsley cracked up at the memory.
“I don’t know if it was the sight or just the feeling or just the entire situation,” Withrow went on. “Maybe that’s what it was — first time having surgery, kind of sunk in that it happened. Seeing that, you’re like, ‘Ho-ly cow.’ It was the first time kind of seeing all the blood and stitches and everything. Kind of weakened the stomach. I was like, ‘All right, this is real.'”