An­gels coach re­turns af­ter surgery

Brogna was di­ag­nosed with tes­tic­u­lar cancer, but a full re­cov­ery is ex­pected.

Los Angeles Times - - BASEBALL - By Mike DiGio­vanna mike.digio­vanna@la­times.com

NEW YORK — An­gels player in­for­ma­tion coach Rico Brogna re­turned this week­end af­ter a four-week ab­sence in which he had the scare of his life, a di­ag­no­sis of tes­tic­u­lar cancer and surgery to re­move a mass on May13.

“It’s very sober­ing, it’s im­me­di­ate, it’s grip­ping,” said Brogna, who serves as a li­ai­son be­tween the front of­fice and scout­ing staff and the coaches and play­ers. “It’s like when you’re a kid and you’re called to the [prin­ci­pal’s] of­fice. You think, ‘What did I do wrong?’ There’s a pit in your stom­ach. Mag­nify that times 100 with this call.”

Brogna, 45, felt a lump in his groin in spring train­ing. “For six or seven weeks, I didn’t say any­thing, hop­ing it would go away,” Brogna said. It didn’t.

Brogna, who played nine years in the big leagues, fi­nally con­sulted a trainer in early May. He had an ul­tra­sound, and doc­tors sus­pected cancer. Brogna re­turned to his home state of Con­necti­cut for surgery, and tests con­firmed the cancer.

“I have a strong faith, but … I’m look­ing at my kids and won­der­ing, ‘Am I go­ing to die?’ ” said Brogna, who is mar­ried with a daugh­ter, 17, and son, 12. “It was fright­en­ing, a weird, emo­tional roller coaster. But I’m still alive.”

Doc­tors told Brogna his cancer was con­tained, and tests showed it has not spread. Brogna’s prog­no­sis for a full re­cov­ery is good. He will un­dergo CT scans ev­ery three months for two years.

“I’m kind of pri­vate, I’m not into the drama, but I also re­al­ize Ihave an op­por­tu­nity to help some­body,” Brogna said. “Just get checked. I would have been the first to say, ‘I’m go­ing to get checked. I’m not go­ing to be stub­born.’ But I didn’t get it checked for a long time. If I had let it keep go­ing, who knows?”

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