Double-D Is Huge!

The last time we saw Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Doug Davis he was walking off the field after pitching 6 strong innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits and had struck out 7 batters. As he made his way to the dugout the crowd of 28,973 stood and gave Double-D a standing ovation. This was not your average start by a number four starter. This was a courageous start by a player who had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and was making his final start before going in for surgery two days later. The game almost seemed trivial compared to what Davis would be facing next. No one including Doug Davis or his doctors knew what to expect. Everyone was hopeful that the surgery would be successful and Davis would be able to fully recover and be back in the line-up some time this season.

Davis of course was extremely confident that this would be just a minor disruption to his season but you just never know when it comes to surgery. I thought that after my first shoulder surgery I would be able to fully recover and still pitch. No matter how hard I worked that just wasn’t to be. I’ve since had 3 more surgeries on my throwing arm and now I have to be content watching the game from the sidelines.

Doug Davis had a great outlook and his body reacted just as he had expected. Shortly after his surgery he was back out playing catch trying to maintain his fitness level. Besides the surgery Doug was also injected with radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining cancer cells that were still lingering. It was again expected that this treatment would set Doug back and make his road to recovery longer. Instead he bucked the odds and felt strong enough to begin a full throwing program. The Diamondbacks sent him to Tucson to begin rehabilitation and after just 2 minor league starts Doug Davis was ready to return to the major league roster.

Tonight was an emotionally charged game as Davis returned to the mound. His teammates were clearly behind him and were motivated to do all they could to make this start meaningful. The Diamondbacks bats which had been nonexistent during the Florida series came alive with Arizona scoring 5 runs in the top of the first inning. With his father in the stands Doug took to the mound to face the Atlanta Braves sporting a solid lead. Those 5 runs were more than enough as Davis again dominated. He threw 89 pitches in 7 innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits. He struck out 4 batters and only allowed 2 walks. When Davis was removed for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning everyone in the Diamondbacks dugout came over to give Doug a hug and to thank him for his efforts.

It was a special night and one I am sure no Diamondbacks fan will forget. The box score will show an 11-1 win but that will not tell the story of what this night meant. A teammate had not just beaten his opponent. He had beaten a disease that affects many people. He has given hope to cancer victims that they too can overcome the obstacles facing them and can return to not just a normal life but one filled with happiness and success. That is what Doug Davis’ performance tonight meant and not matter what happens for the rest of the year this season has been a success.

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