Braves' Giles sent home to test for heart defect

Updated: September 4, 2006, 2:22 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Marcus Giles has always been a hustling player, sacrificing his body for the play. Now, it looks like games will have to come second and his health first.

Marcus Giles
Giles

The Braves second baseman left his teammates in Philadelphia on Sunday to return to Atlanta where he will undergo tests to determine if he has a heart defect.

Giles told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday that he experienced pain in his chest and abdomen while drinking a soda that morning. He said it felt "like a rock" going down, and he experienced terrifying pain for about 10 minutes after that.

Although the pain subsided, he still felt discomfort and was sent to Philadelphia Methodist Hospital from the ballpark. After spending nearly 10 hours there, a physician diagnosed Giles as possibly having a malfunctioning heart valve. If he does not have the problem corrected, Giles told the Journal-Constitution, a stroke could result.

"I talked to him between games [Saturday]," teammate Adam LaRoche told the AJC. "We text [messaged] each other, to see how he was doing. I told him later that he needed to thank God for giving him this warning instead of having a stroke or something."

Fixing the problem involves stapling the valve, accessing the affected area through an artery near the groin. Recovery time amounts to about a week, but preparing for baseball-related activities could take longer.

A Braves spokesman told the newspaper that the team was having difficulty setting up the necessary tests due to the holiday weekend and wouldn't have anything to report until Monday at the earliest.

The announcement that a fiery player like Giles had this problem shocked the Braves.

"Surprised and scared," pitcher Horacio Ramirez told the AJC.