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Kimbrel motivated, focused on daughter

Closer says Lydia Joy, who was born with heart defects, is 'doing great overall'
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born on Nov. 3, and he describes parenting his first child with his wife, Ashley, as, "one of the happiest, joyful times of our life."

But it has also been a roller coaster of emotions.

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born on Nov. 3, and he describes parenting his first child with his wife, Ashley, as, "one of the happiest, joyful times of our life."

But it has also been a roller coaster of emotions.

Kimbrel revealed at Red Sox Winter Weekend on Saturday that his daughter was born with "heart defects." Craig and Ashley learned this would be the case for their daughter back in June, when she was still in utero.

At 4 days old, Lydia Joy had her first surgery. There will be another one during Spring Training, at which point Kimbrel will come back to Boston for about a week.

"Right now, if everybody can just have us in their prayers," said Kimbrel. "She's doing great overall. She's doing fantastic."

As far as a specific diagnosis, Kimbrel didn't want to reveal it at this time.

"It's something that's uncommon but common. Travis Shaw's daughter was kind of going through the same thing last year," Kimbrel said. "But being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great."

Due to his daughter's situation, Kimbrel has spent his entire offseason in Boston. He has been working out daily at Fenway either late at night or early in the morning.

Despite what is going on at home, Kimbrel has remained focused at putting in the necessary steps to have another big season for Boston. Last season was one of the best for a closer in Red Sox history, as Kimbrel had a 1.43 ERA, 126 strikeouts and 14 walks in 69 innings.

Video: Kimbrel takes home the AL Reliever of the Year Award

"It's actually motivated me even more," Kimbrel said. "They always say when you have a child, things change, and they have. I'm definitely more focused toward her and her needs and our family needs. It's just one day at a time and giving everything I've got. It's real easy to look at her and understand everything I'm doing is for her, and it makes it a lot easier."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Craig Kimbrel