D-backs 'playing with heavy hearts'

Updated: May 21, 2009, 9:35 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Arizona Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch kept short a text message he sent Thursday to his grieving pitcher, Scott Schoeneweis.

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Schoeneweis

"There are no words worthy of saying at this time," Hinch said.

Schoeneweis was back in suburban Phoenix, where his wife was found dead at their home Wednesday. Police said the cause of death hadn't been determined. The pitcher released a statement late Thursday through his agent Scott Boras.

"On behalf of my and Gabrielle's entire family I want to express my deepest appreciation for the prayers and support of my current and former teammates, front office and team personnel and dear friends both inside and outside of the baseball community," Schoeneweis said. "Your support is needed and appreciated during this most difficult time. We want all of you to know how important your love and friendship is to all of us."

Funeral services were scheduled for Monday at the Messenger Pinnacle Peak Mortuary in Scottsdale. The family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix.

Schoeneweis left the team when he received the news before a doubleheader at Florida. He declined an offer to have teammate Jon Garland accompany him home.

"It's a long flight," Garland said. "It was completely up to him, and he felt he would be all right. I couldn't even imagine what he's going through."

Hinch told the team 30 minutes before Wednesday's doubleheader about the death of Schoeneweis' wife, Gabrielle, who was 39. The couple celebrated their 10th anniversary in January and had three children together.

"It lets you know the things you have, you need to cherish," Garland said in the clubhouse before Thursday's game. "I think everybody at that moment put that in perspective. It was a weird feeling in here. Everybody was quiet and sitting around. The guys handled it in a professional manner and went about their business."

The Diamondbacks and Marlins split a doubleheader that ended at 1:48 a.m., with Arizona winning the second game in 13 innings.

"It was quite a day," general manager Josh Byrnes said. "We'll move forward, but it was a tough day."

Schoeneweis was placed on the bereavement list. The Diamondbacks were scheduled to conclude their series at Florida on Thursday before flying to Oakland for a weekend series.

"It's impossible for any of us to not think about Scott and his family," Hinch said. "On the professional side, the schedule doesn't stop. We have to play and find a way to play a baseball game time and time again.

"Are we playing with heavy hearts? Yes. Are we playing with one of our own struggling through one of the worst tragedies you can imagine for your family? Yes. But these guys will show up and be ready to play," he said.

And the message Hinch texted to Schoeneweis?

"Just letting him know we're here and supporting him and thinking about him," Hinch said.

Hinch and Schoeneweis worked out together last offseason and have known each other since college, when they were Team USA teammates.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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