SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Leadoff home run? No problem. Bases loaded? Whatever. Bad inning? Kid stuff.
It's hard to imagine the minor troubles of baseball bothering Colorado Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio much anymore, as he's already won the greatest battle of them all in returning to the mound after suffering a fractured vertebra last season.
It was only six months ago that a line drive struck Nicasio's right temple, causing him to fall and fracture his C-1 vertebra. As Nicasio was carted off the field and rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, it was uncertain if the 25-year-old would walk again or even survive, let alone throw another pitch.
But here he is in Rockies camp, competing for a spot in the rotation and seemingly unfazed by the incident that could have easily taken his life. After the injury, it wasn't long before Nicasio's mind turned from walking again to getting back on the mound.
"The first week, I wasn't thinking that," Nicasio said. "I was feeling bad. I was ...