MIAMI (AP) — Miami Marlins pitching prospect Will Stewart landed a $10-an-hour offseason hospital job in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and said the experience made him more grateful for baseball.
“There were 25-, 26-, 28-year-olds getting COVID and dying,” Stewart said. “I watched people come in that couldn’t breathe or had no control over their body. It was very scary and eye-opening. The entire time I was there, I just wanted to get back on the field.”
Stewart spoke Friday at the Marlins' spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida, after throwing in an intrasquad game — his first game since 2019.
The left-hander was acquired two years ago in the trade that sent catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies. Now 23, Stewart has yet to advance beyond Single-A, and the pandemic wiped out the 2020 season for him.
Stewart said he's more determined than ever to succeed after working in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, for a cardiologist. Needing the money, he landed the job through a girlfriend even though he had no experience in medicine, and worked at the hospital for six months.
“I was basically like a tech,” Stewart said. “I saw people my age getting really, really sick. It makes you appreciate life 10 times more.”
Now he's in a major league spring training camp for the first time, eager to make a good impression.
He won't be going back to hospital work.
“It definitely proved to me I don’t want to go into health care,” Stewart said. “Those people get a lot of crap. I definitely feel for them.”
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