Tampa, Fla— Víctor Sánchez´s near-death accident gave Blue Jays prospect Adonys Cardona a different perspective towards his future.
The Seattle Mariners’ prospect, Sánchez, suffered a skull fracture after he was struck in the head by a boat propeller while he was swimming at Playa Medina, a popular beach in Carúpano, Venezuela.
Cardona and Sánchez grew up and trained together in Caracas, Venezuela, under the direction of the same training staff. In 2010, Cardona signed with Toronto Blue Jays for $2.8 million, and one year later, Sánchez inked a deal with the Mariners for $2.5 million.
“Victor Sánchez is a good friend of mine. I am always checking out his health status,” said Cardona, in Spanish at the Blue Jays’ minor-league spring training camp. “I text his wife regularly to know if there has been any improvement.
“We grew up and trained together since we were 13 years old.”
Sánchez´s accident gave Cardona a different approach about how to conduct himself when he is not at the ballpark.
“What happened to him made me realize we have to be really careful,” said Cardona, who plays for the Blue Jays Class-A Lansing Lugnuts. “When we are young and rich, we want to be on top of the world, but the truth is, we have to be very cautious with our own safety,”
Cardona, who underwent surgery almost a year ago to repair a broken elbow, knows how difficult it is to deal with the injury process.
“It was a very difficult time for me,” said Cardona, whose favourite baseball player is former Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Carlos Zambrano.
“My mom told me to calm down and, ´What is going to happen, it just happens no matter what.’ My family helped me a lot to go through the recovery process.”
The right-handed pitcher believes he will be ready to take the Rogers Centre turf sooner than expected.
“If I feel good about my arm, I am sure, I will be pitching for the Blue Jays next year.”
Cardona still remembers the day he decided to play for the Blue Jays.
“I was on my way to play in a national tournament in Margarita island, Venezuela, when the first call I received was from the Oakland Athletics offering me a contract,” said the 21 year-old.
“After that, I was contacted by the Blue Jays who made the best proposal for me,” said Cardona, who claimed to get goose bumps just thinking about getting the highest bonus in the history of his country, where players like Miguel Cabrera and Félix Hernández come from.
Baseball in his DNA
Adonis is the fourth member of his family who has played professional baseball. His father, José Cardona, spent two years pitching at the rookie and Class-A teams of the Texas Rangers, before a shoulder injury forced him to retire at the early age of 25.
His Uncle Isbel Cardona, also a pitcher, and formerly of the Medicine Hat Blue Jays, rookie-level team, spent two years in the San Francisco Giants minor leagues, and his cousin Rodolfo Cardona, played seven years in Baltimore Orioles´ farm system.
The Cardona´s factory has not stopped with Adonis.
“My two little nephews are playing at the moment, the oldest is 10 years old and is a very good hitter, and the youngest is eight years old and is also a pitcher like his uncle,” said Cardona, who used to play centre field when he was in the little leagues.
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