Zunino and Farquhar were teammates for more than three seasons, and their wives became close during that time.
CHICAGO — Mike Zunino stood in front of the visitor’s dugout at Guaranteed Rate Field, getting ready for the Mariners’ pregame workout. The game on Monday night vs. the White Sox would soon have his complete focus.
But admittedly, 0ver the past few days, it’s been difficult to think of all things baseball. His mind and thoughts have been pulled toward his close friend and former teammate Danny Farquhar, who he wished was somewhere, anywhere on the field and not in the intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Care Center.
It was just three days prior that Farquhar began vomiting violently and eventually collapsed in the White Sox dugout after pitching in the sixth inning of a game against the Houston Astros on Friday night.
“I was just checking my phone after our game and I saw that,” Zunino said. “Nothing more had been released at that time. And the next day, I came in and asked (Senior Athletic Trainer Rob Nodine) about it. They had all the information and explained it.”
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Farquhar was immediately taken to Rush by ambulance and later diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage as a result of a ruptured aneurysm. He underwent surgery on Saturday to address the aneurysm. The White Sox released a lengthy update on Monday about Farquhar’s health:
“Farquhar’s medical team reported on Monday that Danny is progressing well following a successful surgery Saturday to address the aneurysm,” the update read. “Farquhar has use of his extremities, is responding appropriately to questions and commands and is speaking to doctors and his family.
“Farquhar remains in critical but neurologically stable condition in the ICU unit at RUSH. Farquhar’s wife, Lexie, and family members are present at the hospital as he continues to receive treatment and close monitoring by the neurosurgical team. He is expected to remain in the neurosurgical ICU at RUSH for the next few weeks.”
The Mariners had a No. 40 Farquhar road jersey hanging in their dugout as a tribute.
“It’s scary to think about a guy that’s 31 years old having that happen to him,” Zunino said quietly. “He’s such a carefree guy and loose and having fun. I’m just hoping that he heals quick and gets back to full health.”
And when Zunino says ‘health,’ he means that Farquhar is healthy enough to live a normal life with his wife, Lexie, and their three kids. Baseball is an afterthought.
“It really puts life into perspective,” he said. “Obviously, we put a lot of time and energy into this game, but at the end of the day, when you have a family and you have three kids, that’s the priority. We just hope and pray that he can get better and be with his family and with his kids as they grow up.”
Zunino and his wife, Alyssa, have grown to become close friends with the Farquhar family.
The relationship started in 2013 when both players were invited to big league spring training. Farquhar had been acquired midway through 2012 season, along with pitcher D.J. Mitchell, in a trade with the Yankees that sent Ichiro to New York.
Both players went to MLB spring training with the Mariners in 2013 and were assigned to Class AAA Tacoma to start the season.
“He got called up a little before I did in 2013 and then we basically played together the next three years,” Zunino said.
Indeed, Farquhar’s contract was selected on May 17, 2013 and Zunino joined the Mariners on June 11, 2013. During that time their wives became close friends. Both families resided in Florida in the offseason.
“It goes way back,” Zunino said. “His parents and sister live in Gainesville where I live. I run into his dad all the time. We keep in touch a lot. And to hear something like that about such a close friend is difficult.”
Zunino said they aren’t planning to visit Farquhar in the hospital unless asked, but with his wife on the trip, he’s hoping they can at least comfort Lexie, and Farquhar children.
“My wife has reached out to Lexie just told them that they we are thinking about them,” he said. “But with my wife being on this trip, we just extended out the offer that if there is anything we can do for them or help them, we will.”
The White Sox also released information for fans that wanted to send well wishes and support to the Farquhar family.
“Fans interested is sending ‘Get Well’ wishes and letters of support to Farquhar should address mail to him at Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W. 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60616.
“His family and the White Sox organization appreciate all of the messages of support for Danny, and the White Sox also appreciate fans and friends keeping Danny and his family in their thoughts and prayers.”