Daughter gives Everett perspective

Daughter gives Everett perspective

ATLANTA -- Houston shortstop Adam Everett wanted more than anything to be playing against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series this week.

It had nothing to do with the Braves, or matchups, rivalries or anything game-related. Everett's wish was based on something far more important than baseball.

Playing the Braves means the Kennesaw, Georgia resident gets to go home, and now more than ever, Everett wants to be at home as much as possible.

Everett's 10-month-old daughter, Peyton, underwent successful surgery last month to have a benign tumor removed from her spinal cord. Peyton Everett is doing fine, and her dad, understandably, continues to have her on his mind a lot lately along with everything else he has going in his world.

"When you go through something like this, it really puts everything into perspective," Everett said. "Everything else has to take a back seat. Thank God she's OK now. It's great to walk through that door and see her smiling at me."

Peyton Everett is recovering nicely. The Astros have given their shortstop every opportunity to spend time with her and wife Jennifer. The team arrived here Tuesday, but Adam Everett came home following the win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. He is spending every moment, when he's not at the ballpark, with his wife and daughter.

During Houston's workout at Turner Field on Tuesday afternoon, Everett looked more rested than he has in weeks. And that could be a very good thing for the Astros.

The 28 year old is Houston's best defensive player, and when he made an uncharacteristic error Thursday that paved the way for a Cubs victory, it looked as if the strain of all he has been through in recent weeks might be taking a toll. For weeks, Everett has been a tough customer in the battle to balance the need to be at home against the non-stop pressure of a starting shortstop on a playoff team. By all accounts, he has been doing an admirable job of handling the strain.

Against the Cubs he clearly wasn't as sharp. Gamer that he is, Everett still insisted on playing.

"He's been amazing the way he's handled everything that's on his plate," teammate Eric Bruntlett said. "[On Sunday], when I made that [error in the ninth inning], I was mad at myself, but Adam came over and said, 'Hey, don't worry about it. We're still up by two runs and we've got the best closer in the game on the mound. Besides, yours didn't cost us the game like mine did.' With everything he's got going on, he's still focused."

Everett admits sometimes it is hard to stay focused, but now that Peyton is farther along on the road to recovery, he is feeling better about things, and something closer to normal has returned to his day-to-day life as a Major League baseball player.

The pace he had been keeping had been brutal. The frequent trips back home and returning to play every night obviously wore on a player who played 152 games this season. Adrenaline will carry you for so long, then fatigue eventually sets in. For Everett, that came last week.

"I kind of hit the wall there, but we had an off-day and that helped," he said.

Every time he went home to watch his baby daughter recuperate, it was hard for Everett to leave her and come back to work.

"The tumor on her spinal cord was benign, they untethered it," Everett said. "She has a six-inch incision on her lower back. Everything went fine, but any time you have surgery, there's going to be some pain. The worst is behind her now and she's getting better."

Everett did not start in the NLDS last season because of a wrist injury, but he was used as a pinch-runner in two games. This time he's healthy and looking forward to playing, especially here at home.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "After last year, it will be nice to do something besides cheer the guys on."

And he'll get to see Peyton smile.

"You know there's a lot more important things in life than baseball," Everett said. "She's definitely that."

Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.