A miracle”. Brito returns after bleeding

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Venezuelan Daniel Brito stood under a shade at the Carpenter Complex and began to talk about his miraculous recovery from a brain hemorrhage in July and his inspiring and unlikely return to baseball this month.

When he began to speak, a few people were listening. By the time she finished, a small group was gathered around her.

“When I woke up from the coma, I knew I wanted to go back,” Brito said. “If God gave me a second chance to live, there is a purpose for me. I am extremely happy to be here. And happy to be here close to what I love, which is baseball.”

Brito, 24, collapsed on the field during a Triple-A Lehigh Valley game in late July in Rochester, New York. He suffered a hemorrhage in the brain due to an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), basically a tangle of blood vessels in the brain.

The Athletic website detailed Brito’s recovery in a story published last month. The young man required two brain surgeries and spent almost two months in the intensive care unit of a Rochester hospital. He was in a coma. He needed a tracheal tube to breathe and another tube in his stomach to feed. He was paralyzed on the left side. He lost 50 pounds. But he got up and started physical therapy in October. By then, everyone wanted him to just get better enough to live a normal life. That meant simple things like climbing stairs and using his left hand to eat and drink. But Brito far exceeded those goals. He started swinging a bat in December. Then he started hitting ground balls and getting in shape.

And along the way, he always had a lot of support. The Phillies brought Brito’s mother, Neydrix Sifontes, from Venezuela. Brito’s fiancée, Anyelis Petit, left her job in Ohio so she could accompany him as well. The Phillies pitched in, pitching in with everything from hotel rooms to meal money. And they signed Brito to another minor league contract so he wouldn’t lose his health insurance.

“For me, it’s a miracle,” confessed Brito. “Thanks god. Thanks to the Phillies.”

On Sunday, Brito traveled from Ohio, where he lives with his girlfriend, to Florida. He reported to the Carpenter Complex on Monday for routine physicals. He felt great to be back. As he walked through the facility, he recalled the home run he hit at Ashburn Field during his rookie season with the GCL Phillies in 2016.

Brito passed the medical exams. He is going to try to play baseball again. The very fact that this is a possibility is a formidable thing, even for him.

“When I was in the hospital, I watched videos of myself all the time,” Brito said. “And then I saw myself hitting in the Lehigh Valley. Being where I am is impressive. Is incredible. I myself can’t believe I’ve come this far.”

Brito thinks he can do it. She pulled out his phone and showed a recent video of him hitting against a pitching machine in Ohio. He then jumped to another video where he is seen jumping and practicing with children. He couldn’t help but smile.

Brito watched batting practice Tuesday morning at BayCare Ballpark before the Phillies and Tigers prospects played an 11-inning scrimmage. When asked what he thought when he saw his teammates, he stated that he thought about getting in the batter’s box and taking a few swings with them.

“In due time, in due time,” someone said.

“That’s what the doctors are saying,” Brito replied.

Brito won an MiLB Gold Glove Award in 2018 as the best defensive second baseman in the minors. He was having the best year of his career in 2021, before everything changed. He posted an .837 OPS in 307 plate appearances with Double-A Reading before being promoted to Lehigh Valley in July. In his first 28 at-bats with the IronPigs, he had eight hits, including two home runs.

“The best advice right now is to hit the brakes, take it easy and go day by day,” Brito said.

But he also said that he was not going to stop dreaming about the possibility of playing in the Major Leagues.

“That will always be my dream,” he said. “No matter what happens, that will always be my dream.”

“The word ‘miracle’ has been mentioned multiple times,” Phillies general manager Sam Fuld said. “This feels like a version of that. It is as if the story is not complete yet. It’s wonderful to have you here. What happens in the future remains to be seen, but being happy that he has improved so much and so quickly is very important.”

Brito will start working again to follow his dream. Along the way, his mere presence will serve as an inspiration to others.

“It feels good to know that I can inspire other people,” said Brito. “This motivates me to continue inspiring more people.”

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