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Rangers hitting coach Jaramillo has prostate cancer

2/18/2006 - MLB Texas Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy
Jaramillo said Saturday he has prostate cancer but plans to be in
the dugout on opening day.

Jaramillo, 55, said he will remain with the team until he has
surgery later in spring training. He said he will decide in about a
week when to have surgery.

"Some things happen, and this will make me mentally stronger,"
Jaramillo said. "I've always had a lot of faith in God and am a
positive person. This will make me appreciate each day even more.
Baseball is my passion, and I want to get back to these kids as
soon as I can."

Going into his 12th season, Jaramillo is the only coach in
Rangers history to serve more than eight years on the major league
staff.

Under Jaramillo, the Rangers have remained one of the most
potent offenses in baseball. They were on a record home run pace
until late in the 2005 season despite losing power hitters Juan
Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro over
the last several years.

"This is unfortunate, but with his attitude, this should be no
big deal," third baseman Hank Blalock said. "We all just want him
to get well and get back to the team when he can."

Jaramillo was a candidate to become New York Mets manager before
Willie Randolph was hired after the 2004 season. Jaramillo ended up
signing a three-year contract with the Rangers.

"We're going to let Rudy decide the way he wants to handle
this," manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll be there for him. He's
a strong man."

Jaramillo said the discovery was made about three weeks ago
during his regular six-month checkup. Since previous checkups were
clear, Jaramillo said the chances of early detection were good.

Longtime Rangers scout Mel Didier, 79, is a prostate cancer
survivor. He said Jaramillo could return a week after surgery.

"It just depends what they find when they get in there, but if
they catch it early, the doctors can do wonders," said Didier, who
tours the country to speak about prostate cancer. "They told me I
would be lucky if I got five years, maybe seven. It's been 12 now.
Doctors are good, but they don't know everything."