Marquis' daughter's accident was 'worst thing I've ever been through'
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Following his 54-pitch outing in a minor league intersquad game on Tuesday, Jason Marquis showed up to the Minnesota Twins clubhouse wearing the standard post-outing ice pack on his right shoulder and elbow.
On his left arm, he wore a hospital-issued wristband.
On his mind, he wore... Well, a lot.
Marquis left Fort Myers for New York after his outing at jetBlue Park two weeks ago to tend to his 7-year-old daughter, who was involved in a serious, life-threatening bicycle accident -- one that caused significant wounds and internal bleeding.
Marquis' wife and father-in-law rushed his daughter to the hospital, where doctors saved her life, as Marquis put it.
Marquis called the first four or five days after the incident "a nightmare," and "something that no parent should ever live through."
Doctors placed her in an induced coma for nine days, and she did not get out of her hospital bed for 11 days. She is stable enough now to where Marquis felt comfortable returning to Fort Myers, but there is no timetable on when his daughter might return home.
A full recovery is expected, at least physically, Marquis said.
"She still has a little ways to go. It's a long process. A seven-year-old girl. Being a kid, they have that on their side. She's got to go through the process of fear of pain, learning to walk again a little bit. ... She has to go through getting her eating habits right again. And she'll have to be in the house, do a little home schooling, which is fine."
He added, "Before they send her home they want to make sure there are no setbacks in the house and my wife would have to rush back. I told them, if it takes two months in there, take two months. If it takes five days, take five days. Whatever it is. This team of doctors and nurses... They've done such an unbelievable job. ...
"Hopefully mentally it doesn't take a toll on her. I know she's seven. I'm pretty sure at seven years old, we all don't remember, so hopefully it's just a blip on the radar, a little bump in the road, that once she's 15 she has no clue what went on."
Life comes before baseball.
But for a 13-year veteran making $3 million to be one of the Twins' five starters this season, the next few weeks will be a difficult balancing act for Marquis, who admitted baseball has been mostly a reprieve from what he called, "the worst thing I've ever been through in my life."
"I wasn't coming (back) until she was awake, talking, a little smile -- she's a scared little 7-year-old who's been through a lot," Marquis said. "We have a great support team at home. My wife's been amazing through this whole thing. The support of the family has really helped with our other two children. That allowed me to have the peace of mind ... to see my daughter smile a little bit ... whether it's a half hour out of the day when she's awake and alert. ...
"If you're around long enough you go through enough hardships. Obviously not to this magnitude, but you're able to learn how to turn it on or off. I'm sure all of you guys have had angry wives and families before, and family situations, but when you come to work you have a job to do and you're able to do your job."
Marquis will pitch in at least one more minor league game before rejoining the starting rotation, provided the Twins figure out how to make such a move without violating MLB rules.
He has already circled the Twins' mid-April, four-game series against the New York Yankees as his next chance to get back and check on his daughter in person.
"I couldn't leave until I saw her eyes, heard her voice. Baseball is able to give me a mental break. I wouldn't be around here for 13 years if baseball wasn't an escape. ...
"Obviously the dead time is when your mind and the wheels are turning. And that could be on my couch at home or in the clubhouse. It's the dead time that really eats away."
As for the wristband, "Obviously I know in a big league game I'd have to take it off," Marquis said.
"But I'm going to try to keep it on until my daughter gets out of the hospital."