Stan Kyles was “in shock” when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. One of his first telephone calls was to Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who battled the disease in 2001.
“He went through the same kind of thing and had a similar surgery, but it’s so much more advanced now,” Kyles said. “He said he was down about six weeks, but I’m looking to return sooner than that.”
Kyles, like Baker, detected the cancer very early. Kyles underwent a physical exam before Spring Training with his personal physician that included a PSA test. He later underwent a biopsy and learned the result about a week into Spring Training.
The Brewers announced on Tuesday that Kyles would leave the team beginning Friday to return home to Spartanburg, S.C. for prostate surgery. The procedure is scheduled for April 29 and Kyles’ recovery is expected to span four to six weeks.
Class A Brevard County pitching coach Fred Dabney was promoted on an interim basis to fill the vacancy in the Brewers’ bullpen. He arrived Tuesday and will spend the next three days working alongside Kyles.
“The more I started seeing other doctors, the more reassured I was that we caught it early and the prognosis is good,” Kyles said. “I’m looking forward to getting it past me and rejoining the team.
True to his soft-spoken nature, Kyles kept the diagnosis mostly private, telling his wife, Monica, and son, Marques, a college senior. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash knew, as did manager Ken Macha and Kyles’ fellow coaches.
He did not tell Brewers players until Sunday in Washington D.C.
“It’s just another thing to show you that baseball is only a small part of the picture,” said Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins, whose grandfather, Eddie Williams, underwent surgery for prostate cancer and is doing well today at age 87.
“Baseball isn’t all that important when you’re talking about [cancer],” Hawkins said. “That’s the last thing you want to hear, but Stan reassured us that he is going to recover it and be back here cracking jokes as soon as possible.”
Kyles has a good reason to get back on his feet quickly. Marques graduates from college on May 6.
“I’m looking forward to getting this stuff behind me,” Kyles said.