Chicago Cubs: Nicholas Castellanos and his father’s cancer scare

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs Nicholas Castellanos had a tough 2017, but no one knew it. His father was diagnosed with brain cancer, though he told few. It’s a fear I know all too well.

When the Chicago Cubs acquired Nicholas Castellanos at the trade deadline, he was a target they had their eye on. But if you go back to 2017, Castellanos was a struggling hitter, trying to figure things out. In an article from CBS 62 out of Detroit, they pegged him as an ‘underachiever,’ and while he had the talent, he wasn’t performing up to his own standards.

“The average is a little bit misleading just because of how well he hit the ball, especially early in the season,” said then Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. But often, it was the common defense of the Tigers third baseman. And at times, it got to be ‘old.’ Cubs fans know exactly what I’m talking about with the likes of Jason Heyward and Yu Darvish. They have hopefully turned the corner. Castellanos did, as well. But for reasons different from Darvish or Heyward.

This is the second anniversary that Dr. Jorge Castellanos, Nick’s father, is in remission after a successful surgery. Central nervous system lymphoma. It was a bleak time for the family, as they met with specialists who gave a prognosis that wasn’t favorable. But in the end, his father’s cancer has gone into remission, and once that was the case? Castellanos got back to his hitting ways.

"“I was very angry. I was very hurt,” Castellanos said. “For some reason he tried to keep it to himself, tried to just keep it under wraps because he didn’t want to worry myself or my brother, who was also playing minor-league ball at the time. He didn’t want to be looked at as a burden, so I was also frustrated that I found out as late as I did.” h/t Will Burchfield, CBS 62"

Now with the Chicago Cubs, he’s got a few teammates that have fought the cancer battle in Anthony Rizzo and Jon Lester. They were both diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They have beat cancer, and they can shed some light on to what Castellanos is going through.

I can relate to all these stories. I have brain cancer, a Glioblastoma–one of the most fatal forms of brain cancer there is. I was diagnosed last June. After I got home from the hospital, my father told me he had bone AND prostate cancer.

"‘‘Death became very real for me,’’ Castellanos said. h/t Gordon Wittenmyer"

I can tell you that it is very real for me. My father is 82 and lived a good life. I still have both my parents. But being diagnosed with brain cancer at 39? I always thought I’d live to my father’s age. Now I can’t be sure. As I head to my second surgery in September, it just one more battle I wage. Like Lester’s foundation, #NVRQT.

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I can’t speak to Castellanos and how it helped him improve at baseball. But I can tell you it can change your perspective about life. I recently wrote about how I would like to see them sign Castellanos in the offseason. This just gives me another reason why I admire him as a ballplayer.