Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Javier Fights for Job While Mother Fights for Life

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Javier Fights for Job While Mother Fights for Life

Article excerpt

Stan Javier wasn't walking through the clubhouse; he was gliding.

The San Francisco Giants outfielder had just rapped two hits in two at-bats against the Colorado Rockies, started a game in the outfield for the first time since July, and just for giggles, after he showered, he shaved off a mustache that was twice as old as his 2-year-old son, Marcel.

The 32-year-old outfielder looked 22, and that delighted him. "If I go out now I think they'll ask me for an ID to buy a beer," Javier said. Goaded into explaining his new bare-lipped look, he smiled and said, "I saw too many gray hairs." Javier was having a ball on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and why shouldn't he? When he's on a baseball field, the smell of freshly cut grass and the sounds of the game caressing his senses, Javier can forget the troubles that have made his last year so trying. Last year he was the Giants' starting center fielder, but in July he tore his right hamstring running out a grounder in Denver to end his season. Over the winter, the Giants signed center fielders Darryl Hamilton and Darrin Jackson because they didn't know if Javier would be healthy this spring, and now Javier is forced to fight for a backup job. None of that, however, has weighed more on Javier's consciousness than the ordeal of his mother, Ines, who is home in the Dominican Republic fighting a long battle with cancer. For a month and a half, while other ballplayers were hitting the weight room, Javier was by his mom's side at a Miami hospital. "The hardest thing about baseball this year was leaving my mother behind," Javier said. "After this, nothing will be hard." Baseball is difficult enough without minor distractions, and a parent with cancer is a mind-blower. But Javier comes from a baseball family that comes from a baseball country, and even if his thoughts are back home he feels his place is here. Every day, however, he calls Ines Javier to see how she's doing. When it comes to how Stan Javier is doing, it's tough to say, because his emotions are tough to crack. "If I had just met him and didn't know what was going on, I wouldn't be able to tell," said outfielder Marvin Benard, whose locker is next to Javier at Scottsdale Stadium. …

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