Earlier in this still-young baseball season, Giants first baseman Audrey Huff was asked to play second base and seemingly went walkabout during a routine double play grounder. Now, the troubled 35-year old has been placed on the 15-day disabled list for what has been described as anxiety by manager Bruce Bochy.
Anxiety is a psychological problem that affects around 40 million Americans in any one year. The causes can be numerous, but in Huff’s case, it is probably accumulative. His father was murdered when he was only seven years old. His performance at the plate has been below par the past season and a half. And now, he is going through a divorce — a very stressful and life-destroying event for anyone, especially if you are the person not wanting to break up. Of course, we do not know the finer details and Huff has asked the media for a period of solitude and peace.
In a statement released by Huff on Friday, he thanked “the fans, media and Giants organization for the outpouring of support during this very difficult week. I’m especially grateful for the texts and calls from my teammates, who are like my brothers and have let me know they’re here for me. My goal is to get back on the field as soon as possible. To do that, I have to focus completely on getting well. I know I’m in a public job, and I’ve been one of the more open guys. But sometimes you have to pull back and work on things in private. This is one of those times.”
Aubrey Lewis Huff III was born in December, 1976, in Marion, Ohio, but grew up in Texas. He has played first base, third base and outfield his entire career for teams like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. He played college baseball for the University of Miami and in 2010, helped the Giants win a World Series title. Huff has a career batting average of .279, 242 home runs and 900 RBI. His accomplishments include a Silver Slugger award (2008), Edgar Martinez award (2008) and a rare inside the park home run in 2010.
Huff is now in Tampa recovering from his problem. Bochy has confirmed that Huff has already received and will continue to receive treatment. “He’s going to meet us in San Francisco when we get back,” the Giants manager said. (The Giants called up infielder Joaquin Arias to replace Huff on the active roster).
The outpouring of good will can only help Huff’s recovery. Dr. Simon Rego, Director of Psychology at Montefiore Medical Center, said that “if left untreated, anxiety disorders can have a severe, negative impact on a person’s social, work, and even home life. They can make people more vulnerable to abusing alcohol and drugs and experience depression.”
While Huff recovers, Bochy will continue to primarily use Brandon Belt as his first baseman, with Brett Pill mixed in when the team faces left-handers. Catcher Buster Posey will also get the occasional start at first.
Jane Harrison is a freelance writer from NYC who writes on behalf of a number of good causes including how to find treatment for an alcoholic. Every sport has those who have fallen victim to the temptations of wealth, fame and, sadly, alcohol and drugs. Harrison spent some time in England helping young athletes overcome those problems. Her good work is supported by the Lane Furniture Company, manufacturers of high quality leather sofas.
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