Game an escape as Robinson cares for sick daughter

Game an escape as Robinson cares for sick daughter

MILWAUKEE -- Shane Robinson was obtained by the Angels on March 31, hours before the start of the three-game, exhibition Freeway Series against the cross-town-rival Dodgers. When he took the field that Thursday, the 31-year-old outfielder had gone 13 days without seeing any live pitching.

"It was kind of nerve-wracking," Robinson said. "It's a tough spot to be put in."

Robinson opted out of his Minor League deal with the Indians a couple of days earlier, because they had too many outfielders for him to even see the field in Spring Training. When Robinson joined the Angels, he had just returned from Boston, after the latest -- and, he hopes, last -- of a string of surgical procedures undergone by his young daughter, Harper, who was born with esophageal atresia, a condition where the esophagus isn't properly connected to the stomach.

"It's kind of a rollercoaster," Robinson said. "Things have worked out, and then we've had big setbacks. It's kind of been back and forth, pretty much her whole life."

Harper, now 19 months old, has already undergone 40 surgeries, a lot of them minor, but several of them major. Many involve running a scope down her throat to dilate her esophagus. Harper was born with the condition in 2014, the last of Robinson's five seasons with the Cardinals.

Robinson's wife, Jessica, older daughter, Tinley, who's now 4 years old, and Harper spent most of last year in Boston, while Robinson played for the Twins. Harper went long periods in a medically induced coma that year, and Robinson left the team on three separate occasions to be by her side.

Baseball has become his escape.

Robinson's RBI grounder

"It kind of takes my mind off it," said Robinson, a speedy, defensive-minded outfielder who has batted .239/.304/.314 in 352 Major League games. "My wife is the one dealing with most of it. It's tough. She's been through the worst of it."

Robinson does his best to pick up the slack over the offseason. His latest trip to Boston was prompted by his daughter undergoing emergency surgery because her esophagus closed too tightly. Robinson said doctors "feel really good about it," but Harper must continue to be monitored closely.

Robinson was called up on Sunday to take the roster spot of fellow right-handed-hitting outfielder Craig Gentry, who's on the disabled list with a back injury. Robinson only starts against lefties, so he doesn't figure to get much playing time in this series against the Brewers.

But his wife and two daughters are in the stands at Miller Park.

"I haven't seen them in a while," Robinson said. "Both my daughters just gravitate toward me right away. It's like I'm doing something right with that. So it's been good. It's been good to see them. Hopefully we'll keep the positive news with things."

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.