PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The Philadelphia Phillies organization mourns the loss of minor league player Corey Phelan.
Phelan died at the age of 20 after a battle with cancer, the team announced on Thursday.
“The Phillies family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Corey Phelan. Corey’s positive presence and selflessness impacted everyone around him. While he was incredibly passionate about the game of baseball, his love for his family and strong faith outweighed everything else. We send our deepest condolences to his family, as well as his teammates and associates, who stood by his side and gave him emotional support during his courageous battle with cancer,” the Phillies said in a statement.
Doctors initially thought it was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but when treatment failed, they soon realized it was a rarer and more aggressive cancer known as T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL ) referred to as.
Action News sports reporter Jamie Apody interviewed Phelan back in June.
Phelan recalled when he was diagnosed with cancer in April at the age of 19.
“I was in the shower and passed out in the shower. So I called 911 and the ambulance came,” Phelan said. “I got a CAT scan of my chest and they told me I had a 9 inch mass in my chest.”
Phelan told Action News about the treatment he received to fight the cancer.
“It’s chemotherapy that goes through a drip in an IV that goes through a PICC line in my arm. It makes you very tired,” says Phelan. “You just sit there in a bed.”
The left-handed pitcher was able to take a break from treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York in May and visited the Phillies clubhouse at Citi Field when they were in town to face the Mets.
It gave Phelan, a native New Yorker, a much-needed boost.
“That was one of the best nights ever – when I got to talk to the guys in the dressing room, Joe Girardi took me out onto the field, everyone was supportive and nice. The entire Phillies organization has been nothing but amazing to me and my family,” Phelan said.
The visit also lifted Phillies spirits.
“He’s going through some rough times right now,” Aaron Nola said after Phelan’s visit, MLB.com reported. “The hard times we’re going through in baseball don’t compare to what he’s going through. The positivity he showed – his faith and belief that God is in control. Obviously it shows what kind of person he is, what kind of man he is. The guys in the clubhouse saw that.”
Phelan told Action News that he’s looking forward to making it to the big leagues.
“It gave me a little motivation and I can’t wait to get into the big leagues with these guys,” said Phelan. “Whether it’s being in the field and with my friends all day or lying in a hospital bed, really all I’m thinking about is coming back to Clearwater. I can barely wait for it.”
The Phillies signed Phelan out of high school in 2020 as an undrafted free agent.
In May, Phelan’s high school, Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, NY, hosted a golf outing to support him and his family.
Phelan made his professional debut with the Florida Complex League Phillies last season at the rookie level, posting a .93 ERA in five relief appearances.
“We are saddened by the passing of Corey Phelan, a prospect in the Phillies organization. Our thoughts are with Corey’s family, friends and teammates,” Minor League Baseball said.
Former Clearwater Threshers teammate Andrew Painter tweeted two broken hearts.
Painter and Phelan were named Phillies Minor League Co-Pitchers of the Month in April this year. Phelan, who did not play on the pitch this season, was honored for his bravery and perseverance.
In a statement Thursday, Phillies Director of Player Development Preston Mattingly said: “Corey is and always will be a special person. His smile lit up a room and everyone who came into contact with him appreciated the interaction. His memory will live on, especially with the Phillies organization.”
Jamie Apody recalled her conversations with Phelan a few months ago.
“I am devastated to learn of the death of Phillies pitching candidate Corey Phelan. I had the opportunity to speak to Corey in June. The team has been his inspiration throughout his battle with cancer. May it be theirs now. Gone too early. #WinForCorey,” Jamie said.
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https://6abc.com/corey-phelan-philadelphia-phillies-minor-league-pitcher-dies-of-cancer-player-death-non-hodgkins-lymphoma/12327052/ Philadelphia Phillies minor league pitcher Corey Phelan dies of cancer at 20