Diabetes Hasn't Slowed Ascension Of Mets' Vaughn





PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—Some people might want to hide a problem like the one that Cory Vaughn faces.

Living with diabetes, the 21-year-old outfielder spent his first year in the Mets organization like he has had to live his life, with an insulin pump attached to his hip.

Hide that? Well, then his twitter name probably wouldn't be "InsulinBombs."

"Oh yeah, definitely," Vaughn said when asked about taking a public stance with his illness. "Last year some kids came into Brooklyn that were diabetic. I hung around with them, interacted with them and it's good for the awareness.

"I feel like a lot of kids when they get diagnosed they're like, 'I can't play a sport now.' But it's the total opposite. You can do whatever you want. At least I tried to tell them that."

Vaughn says he isn't slowed by the illness, he just has to carefully monitor his condition.

"It really doesn't effect me too much at all," he said. "I've had it since I was 11, so basically it's all I know. Just have to stay on top of my blood sugar, make sure it's controlled . . .  If it's not, just take some insulin, drink some apple juice or something.

"For the most part it's been pretty solid. I test my blood sugar like eight times a day—during a game probably like three, four times, depending on how I'm feeling."

It is actually just a small part of the package for the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Vaughn. He arrived with the Mets last year as a fourth-round pick out of San Diego State, more heralded as the son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn. That not only provided the bloodlines, but also an understanding of what it takes at the professional level.

In 72 games with short-season Brooklyn, Vaughn hit .307/.396/.557 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs. His father hit 50 home runs for the Padres in 1998 and topped 40 twice, finishing his 15-year career with 355.

"He just basically taught me how to act professionally, to always handle things the right way," Cory said. "Things won't always go your way. He taught me how to act when things aren't going your way, how to have the right makeup.

"Maybe I got a little bit of a jump. I just go out there and try to be the best person I can be on and off the field. Hopefully, things will take care of itself."

METAMORPHOSES

Dillon Gee impressed the Mets in spring training, but with the team having five healthy starters breaking camp, Gee will begin the year in the Triple-A Buffalo rotation.

• Catcher Mike Nickeas finally made it to the majors last September and he might have a long stay this season. He was already slated to serve as backup to Josh Thole for the first eight games while Ronny Paulino finished his suspension, but Nickeas could be a long-term solution with Paulino suffering stomach/colon issues that could disable him for an undetermined time.