After accident, S. Rodriguez says he feels grateful

Braves player discusses family's strength and hopes to play this season

After accident, S. Rodriguez says he feels grateful

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Sean Rodriguez never envisioned he would introduce himself to his new Braves teammates while wearing an arm sling and staring at the likelihood of being sidelined throughout the upcoming season.

But when Rodriguez was forced to do so after coming to the Braves' Spring Training complex on Sunday afternoon, he remained comforted by the daily gratitude he has felt since he, his wife, Giselle, and two of their children survived a Jan. 28 car accident that claimed the life of a man who had stolen a police car in Miami.

"It's mostly a blur and naturally, I'm trying to keep it that way," Rodriguez said of the accident. "My wife and kids are alive, and I get to kiss them, say goodnight to them and I love them every day. For that, I'm just grateful and blessed."

Rodriguez has been impressed with the emotional strength his wife has shown while recovering from multiple leg and wrist fractures. His 7-year-old son Sean Jr., who goes by GoGo, fractured his left orbital bone and left arm. Two-year-old son Zekiel suffered some bruising during the fiery crash that occurred when the cop car hit Rodriguez's Suburban.

An X-ray of Rodriguez's shoulder taken shortly after the crash provided indication he had escaped serious injury and would be ready for the start of Spring Training. But after he struggled to move his left arm after the swelling subsided, the 31-year-old veteran underwent an MRI exam that showed he had a torn rotator cuff and damage to both his labrum and biceps tendon.

"You prepare for the worst, but you hope for the best," Rodriguez said. "My faith is always in God, and I know He can do absolutely anything. So up until when they said they needed to operate on me, I thought, 'He could just reach in there and heal it.' I can tell you today, He could probably heal it a lot faster than what's going to happen naturally."

Though Rodriguez maintains hope to play at some point during the upcoming season, the expectation is that he will be sidelined throughout the year after undergoing surgery on Tuesday. This was a significant setback for the Braves who in November, gave the versatile defender a two-year, $11.5 million deal with the expectation he would enter this season as their second baseman and also serve as their primary backup at every infield and outfield position.

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"My goal is to get back as quickly as possible because I still intend on contributing to get to a World Series and contributing to win a World Series," Rodriguez said. "That has always been the goal, and it's never going to stop being the goal."

Rodriguez has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from Braves fans, and he hopes to be around the Braves as much as possible this year to contribute in any possible way. But for now, his primary focus understandably rests on his family.

"You definitely stare into your kids' eyes and your wife's eyes a little more," Rodriguez said. "You definitely bask in that moment a little more that you get to see them and play with them and kiss them."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.