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Former major leaguer Dave Roberts expects full recovery from cancer

Roberts, 38, says the prognosis is good to overcome the Hodgkin's lymphoma he has been battling since March.

August 18, 2010|By Mike DiGiovanna

Reporting from Boston — Former outfielder Dave Roberts, who played parts of his 10-year career with the Dodgers and San Diego Padres, said doctors expect him to "make a full recovery" from Hodgkin's lymphoma, the cancer he was diagnosed with in March.

"The prognosis is good," Roberts said during a visit to Fenway Park before Wednesday night's Angels- Boston Red Sox game. "The doctors are very optimistic. I feel good. I'm just getting a little tired, but my spirits are good. I'm looking forward to getting this behind me."

Roberts, who didn't go public with his diagnosis until May 3, completed eight rounds of chemotherapy, and he is undergoing three weeks of radiation treatments at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system, and as it progresses it compromises the body's ability to fight infection.

Roberts, 38, played at UCLA and during his major league career had a .266 average and 243 stolen bases. He had his best year in 2006, batting .293 with 146 hits, 80 runs and 49 stolen bases for the Padres. He hit .277 with 117 hits, 63 runs and 45 stolen bases for the Dodgers in 2002.

He is probably best known for sparking the Red Sox to their first World Series championship in 86 years by stealing second base against the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.

Boston was trailing the best-of-seven series, 3-0, and was facing elimination in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on to protect a 4-3 lead.

Kevin Millar drew a walk and Roberts, who had not played in 10 days, came in to pinch-run. Rivera threw to first base three times and, on the next pitch, Roberts stole second. Bill Mueller followed with a run-scoring single and Boston went on to win in 12 innings.

The Red Sox won the next three games, becoming the first team to erase a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, and they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Roberts' stolen base is often referred to as "The Steal of the Century."

Despite his illness, Roberts has been able to continue his work this season as a special assistant to baseball operations for the Padres, who are in first place in the National League West.

"I've been able to go to the different affiliates and watch the big league games," said Roberts, who lives in north San Diego County. "It's been good because it has kept my mind off what I'm going through. It's been a nice break, actually."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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