Orsulak's wife has brain tumor NATIONAL LEAGUE

August 02, 1994|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- Outfielder Joe Orsulak returned to a somber New York Mets clubhouse yesterday after spending the past five days at home with his wife, Adrianna, who has a malignant brain tumor.

Adrianna Orsulak, 29, will undergo further tests before doctors determine her course of treatment.

"If she needed me home I'd be there," Orsulak told a small group of reporters before the game. "All I can do is go to work and take care of business. It's a tough time. We just have to deal with it.

"We have a positive attitude. Right now, she's home and feeling fine. She's strong, and she has a good attitude."

Orsulak left the club last week in St. Louis after his wife, who had complained of severe headaches, underwent a series of tests July 25 in New York. The next day, doctors wanted to meet with the couple.

"Right then, I knew something was wrong," said Orsulak, who was married in 1988 and has two sons. "It's tough. Initially, I was shocked. But these things can be cured and treated."

Orsulak was understandably subdued as he spoke to reporters, but he sounded optimistic his wife's condition will improve. If nothing else, the couple is experienced in dealing with adversity. Last year, their 2-year-old son, Michael, underwent successful open-heart surgery.

"When I first heard he had left the team, I thought it had to do with his son," said Atlanta Braves outfielder Dave Gallagher, Orsulak's close friend and a former teammate with the Mets and Orioles. "When I heard it was his wife, I was in shock. I told him, 'You've been dealt some pretty tough cards.'

"He hides his emotions well. He's as optimistic as he can be. But this is really tough."

Orsulak's teammates have known of Adrianna's condition for several days.

"We're getting a lot of support," Orsulak said.

David Segui, one of Orsulak's closest friends on the Mets and also a former Oriole, said his teammate is handling the situation as well as he possibly can.

"He's been the same old 'Slak,' " Segui said, "but you know he's hurting."

Orsulak said he probably will leave the club indefinitely when his wife begins treatment near their off-season home in Baltimore in about two weeks. Until then, he will try to concentrate on baseball.

"I'm here to play," he said. "When I'm playing, I'll be thinking about the game. There's not much we can do right now. She's out of the hospital and she's happy to be with our kids.

"These things happen to people every day. You can't feel like you're being singled out. There are young children who have these things happen to them. I'm not asking, 'Why us?' "

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