Dave Dravecky’s left arm was amputated Tuesday to stop the possible spread of cancer, according to a former teammate.
Atlee Hammaker, one of the Dravecky’s best friends when the two pitched for the San Francisco Giants, said he spoke Tuesday with Dravecky’s father, who confirmed the amputation.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where the surgery was performed, did not comment on the operation. The hospital said a statement would be made this morning.
Hammaker said Dravecky’s father told him that two more tests were taken on Dravecky’s arm before the decision was made to amputate.
“After the second test, it was decided to take it,” Hammaker said. “He was prepared as anybody can be, but it’s a tough deal.”
Hammaker now plays for San Diego. He made his comments after the Padres lost 3-1 to Pittsburgh.
It was announced last week that Dravecky’s arm, in which cancer was diagnosed in 1988, would be amputated at the shoulder. But on Monday, his agent, Sealy Yates, said there was a slight possibility the arm would not have to be amputated.
The surgery, the fourth on Dravecky’s arm since the cancer was detected, lasted more than five hours and was performed by Dr. Murray Brennan, chairman of the Dept. of Surgery at the hospital.
Dravecky, in a statement last week, said he was resigned to having the arm amputated.
“In as much as there is a certain amount of fear involved in losing my arm, reflecting upon my past eight or nine months, it is a sense of almost relief that I feel,” Dravecky said. “The pain and discomfort of that time is now about to end and I look forward to once again doing the things I enjoy.”
“I want to thank all of the many people across the country who have graciously expressed their concern for me and my family,” Dravecky said in a statement. “As we face this latest trauma in my life . . . I am as prepared as one can be to face the loss of my arm.”
Dravecky is expected to remain hospitalized 10 to 14 days.
Dravecky, 35, underwent his first operation Oct. 7, 1988, after a cancerous tumor was diagnosed in the primary throwing muscle of his left arm. Doctors conducted an eight-hour operation to remove a malignant tumor and nearly half the deltoid muscle, and told him he never would pitch again.
Ten months later, on Aug. 10, 1989, Dravecky pitched seven shutout innings for the San Francisco Giants in a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
But five days later, while pitching against the Montreal Expos, his left arm snapped and he collapsed on the mound in agony.
The bone healed and Dravecky was considering another comeback when the arm was broken again, this time during a freak on-field celebration with his teammates when the Giants clinched the 1989 National League pennant with a victory over the Chicago Cubs.