|Matheny visits former Cardinals, Giants teammates|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 08 July 2007 08:45|
Just when he thought his brain had finally healed, Matheny took part in drills for an online training video a couple of weeks ago and didn't feel like himself for the next few days.
``I thought it was gone. I was foggy and knocked out the next day,'' Matheny said Sunday, when he visited his former Cardinals and Giants teammates at Busch Stadium. ``But I can live a normal life.''
Giants starter Matt Morris, also a teammate for five years with the Cardinals, presented the catcher with a pair of No. 22 Matheny uniforms with the numbers on back signed by the San Francisco players.
Morris switched from No. 35 to 22 this season as a tribute to Matheny, giving infielder Rich Aurilia his regular No. 35 he's worn for years.
``He called me in the spring and asked me if that was OK,'' Matheny said. ``OK? That's the best compliment anybody's given me in a long time.''
Matheny, his wife and five children live in the St. Louis area. They made the 4-hour trek back from the family's summer home in Branson, Mo., to see the finale of the three-game series Sunday between his former teams. It was the final contest for both clubs before the All-Star break.
Matheny made sure to stop in the St. Louis clubhouse, too. He keeps in touch with a handful of guys from both teams, and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had made it known Matheny would be welcome anytime.
``Tony's been all over me for not coming down,'' Matheny said. ``I'm still a Giant.''
He is under contract with San Francisco through this season.
The 36-year-old Matheny played his last full season in 2005, his first year with San Francisco. He has a .239 career batting average with 67 home runs and 443 RBIs in 1,305 games for Milwaukee (1994-98), Toronto (1999), St. Louis (2000-04) and the Giants (2005-06).
He didn't play again in 2006 after May 31 following a series of foul tips he took in the mask - and doctors warned him that he was more susceptible to even further damage if he received another blow.
That marked the end of his 13-year major league career.
In early December, Matheny underwent another extensive battery of tests at the Sports Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to determine if his symptoms had subsided. They had not. He said that on Dec. 28 he tried to exercise and after his heart rate had been elevated he experienced the same troublesome symptoms for a day and a half, such as fatigue, memory problems and a tough time focusing and seeing straight.
``I've kind of gone cold turkey with the baseball thing,'' he said. ``It's harder to watch than to move on completely.''
Not that he's going to leave the sport for good. Matheny is working with several young catchers to teach them the fundamentals and strategy of the position.
``I'm going to stay wide open,'' he said of his future. ``I think I can help catchers at any level.''