Enright facing cancer diagnosis with positive attitude

February 13th, 2023

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins right-hander  was one of the many pitchers and catchers heading to the back fields at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex on Monday morning. What seemed to be a normal Spring Training sight was anything but.

Twelve days after Miami selected him in the Rule 5 Draft, Enright woke up with what he thought was a crick in his neck. The next morning, his lymph nodes were swollen. En route to urgent care, he never could've imagined what came next.

On Dec. 23, Enright was diagnosed with nodular predominant Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma.

Cancer doesn't run in his family, so it caught him off guard. Plus, his weight room numbers and mound sessions in the weeks leading up to the news were better than they were the previous year.

"I was feeling good and I felt like I was at the top of the mountain, and then everything kind of came down a little bit with the diagnosis," said Enright, who turned 26 on Jan. 8. "But now I feel like I have a really good plan moving forward on how I'm going to tackle this and beat it. It's not an 'if,' it's a 'when.' When I get this behind me and get this cancer kicked, then it'll make being up there and helping the team win some games that much sweeter."

Understandably, this wasn't Enright's mindset when he first heard the diagnosis. During the first two weeks, he didn't tell many people because he thought that if he spoke it out loud, it would make it real. But then Enright read about Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner beating the disease. A Marlins trainer connected him with Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who overcame leukemia. These stories made Enright more confident he would get through this. He just needed a plan of attack.

Enright has avoided chemotherapy. Instead, a port was inserted into his chest in December and he underwent a round of immunotherapy every Thursday for four weeks. That first time, Enright passed out when he received the IV because he was nervous. He also broke out into hives. Enright didn't feel great that day or the day after, but he bounced back soon after.

It was clear the immunotherapy was working, as his lymph nodes started to shrink. Enright's final cycle was Feb. 9. He will begin another round of treatments around July 10.

"That's kind of when I was hoping to be able to come back and be in game shape and hopefully be a part of the team and everything," Enright said. "It's metered expectations through all of this. For me, I'm just thankful and happy to be out there and being able to still continue to play catch and do all those kind of things."

Enright has no physical limitations. Since the port came out on Jan. 14, he has been able to work out in his basement in Rocky Mount, Va., and begin throwing. He has leaned on pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., who battled prostate cancer in 2021 and lost his father and brother to cancer.

Though Enright is at Spring Training, he is a little behind schedule because he couldn't throw for a month. Stottlemyre is ironing out a plan for Enright's return to the mound, making sure to protect the young reliever.

"I've been trying to let this affect me as little as possible," Enright said. "One of the things that [Carrasco] told me was that one of the things he told himself was, 'You might have cancer, but the cancer doesn't have me.' And that's kind of what I've been trying to do. That's how I've been trying to kind of go about all this. I might have this, but there's nothing I can do to change any of that part. So I'm just trying to do everything I can to continue living my life -- whether it's training and doing all that kind of stuff, keep on doing what I've been doing.

"Sitting down and feeling sorry for myself or anything like that wouldn't really help the situation. Trying to be positive, think of all the good things that are going to come from it. Hopefully raise awareness so that if someone has something similar to what I have, they go get it checked out as soon as I did and they're able to catch it early the way that I was and not let it become an issue later on."