Jays stand by Downs during crisis

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

Scott Downs has a new appreciation for good health and how much most people take it for granted.

The Blue Jays left-hander had a shock when he took a call Friday in New York from his wife Katie.

"She wanted to know if I was sitting down and then she told me our daughter had been hospitalized," Downs said.

His wife got the alarming news when she took five-week-old Katherine Grayson to the family doctor in Lexington, Ky., for what she thought was a cold.

After taking the call from his wife informing him of the news, and after the initial shock wore off, Downs phoned manager John Gibbons, who told him to go home and the team would take care of the arrangements.

It wasn't until Saturday they finally diagnosed his daughter with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants.

Only .5-2% of infants who have RSV require hospitalization, so the situation was very serious. But young Katherine Grayson is out of the hospital and doing fine.

The whole experience was new and frightening to Downs, whose 31/2-year-old son Harrison did not have any health issues as an infant.

"It was a relief just to get there and it felt very good being in an organization that allows us to go and take care of our families when the need arises," said Downs, who left spring training to witness his daughter's birth five weeks ago.

The Jays were able to place Downs on the bereavement list and bring in another pitcher to take his place, temporarily.

When he returned yesterday, the Jays optioned left-hander Brian Tallet back to triple-A Syracuse.

The experience was an eye-opener in another way for Downs.

"It was a weird feeling," he said. "For the first time, baseball didn't matter."

Downs also touched by the prayers and well-wishes he received from his teammates, who were checking in periodically with him in Lexington.

"It touches you deep when you know people care like that," he said.


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