Raines Battles Lupus
Can Rock Keep Rolling?
The news last week that Athletics outfielder Tim Raines is suffering from lupus, a treatable but incurable connective tissue disease, had teammates and other players around the majors expressing concern and rooting hard for the player known as Rock. Yet despite Raines's promise that he will return next season, the reality is harsh: The career of one of the game's most explosive players could be over.
Raines, who will remain in the Bay Area for about a month before going home to Heathrow, Fla., where he will continue undergoing treatment, says he wants to stick around the majors long enough to play with his son, Tim Raines Jr., a 19-year-old with the Orioles' Class A Delmarva (Md.) club. Yet, at 39, Raines was already fading before the lupus was diagnosed. In just 58 games this season, he hit .215 with four stolen bases.
Throughout his 20-year career, Raines has had the misfortune of playing at the same time as baseball's greatest leadoff hitter, Rickey Henderson. That, coupled with the fact that Raines's most productive seasons were spent in Montreal, has obscured his not inconsiderable accomplishments (.295,2,561 hits, 1,548 runs, 1,290 walks and 807 stolen bases).
Here's hoping that next year Raines will be able to add to those numbers.
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