Hennessey’s tumor grows back

By Jeff Fletcher
August 13, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO–Giants pitching prospect Brad Hennessey was expected to undergo a second operation to have a tumor removed from his back, causing deep concern among the Giants’ medical staff.

Hennessy, 22, the first of the Giants’ two first-round picks in 2001 (21st overall), had upper back pain in the fall that was finally determined to be a symptom of a quarter-sized tumor, which was removed in February. The righthander had been slowly rehabbing when the back pain returned, and tests last week showed that the tumor had grown back.

“We didn’t expect it to grow back and we certainly didn’t expect it to grow back so quickly,” said Giants trainer Stan Conte. “With regard to him pitching again, at this point that’s the least of our concerns.”

The first tumor was benign, and the Giants expect that this new one will also be benign, but there is some concern that it could become malignant if it’s not removed, Conte said.

Hennessey, the 21st overall selection last year out of Youngstown State, went 1-0, 2.38 for short-season Salem-Keizer last summer, pitching in 34 innings over nine starts. Then he developed the back problems during instructional league.

His rehab from the first surgery went slowly, and he had just started to throw when the new tumor was discovered. He has not pitched in 2002.

A converted infielder, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Hennessey shared pitcher of the year honors in the Mid-Continent Conference in 2001, going 6-5, 4.06 with 126 strikeouts in 89 innings.