Phillies inspired by visit from prospect with cancer

May 29th, 2022

NEW YORK -- The Phillies received a pleasant visit on Saturday afternoon, hours before playing the Mets at Citi Field. Left-hander Corey Phelan, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Phillies in 2020, went into the clubhouse to say hello.

Phelan, 19, is currently on the injured list because of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The visit was arranged by manager Joe Girardi and his staff.

“The kid is a fighter and he is a strong kid. He is mentally strong. He is tough,” Girardi said. “His whole family was here. He spoke to us and it was pretty moving.”

If you think the Phillies were happy to see Phelan, one can imagine how Phelan felt when he saw the Phillies. The native New Yorker gave each person in the organization a green bracelet and told them that he watches all of their games while he is recovering from his illness.

“It was awesome. I can’t put into words how awesome it was,” Phelan said via telephone. “Every time I can watch them on TV, depending on what channel they are playing on, I watch them and I root for them every game. I love watching them play. They bring my spirits up.”

Asked how he was feeling at the moment, Phelan said, “Originally, my disease was acting like a T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma and now it’s turning more towards leukemia because I have a lot more cancer cells in my bone marrow. [The doctors] are saying they have seen two cases similar to this before.”

Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola said seeing Phelan was awesome and put life in perspective.

“He is going through some hard times right now,” Nola said. “The hard times that we go through in baseball doesn’t compare to what he is going through. The positivity that he showed [Saturday] -- his faith and belief that God has it under control. Obviously, it shows what kind of person that he is, what kind of man he is. The guys in the clubhouse saw that.”

Phelan said he is looking forward to being on the baseball mound for the Phillies one day. If 2021 was any indication, Phelan is going to be a productive pitcher for the Phillies. He played for the Class A Phillies in the Florida Complex League and allowed one run in 9 2/3 innings with six strikeouts.

“It’s the only thing I think about, to be honest. I’m looking very forward to that day,” he said.