His mind at ease, Hernandez can focus on NLDS

Members of infielder's family airlifted from Puerto Rico

His mind at ease, Hernandez can focus on NLDS

LOS ANGELES -- Ballplayers go to work, their minds filled with the stresses of personal life, just like the rest of us.

NLDS Game 1: Friday, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 ET on TBS

Enrique Hernandez slumped last season worrying about his father's battle with cancer. His grandmother is dealing with complications following September breast cancer surgery. Her husband, Hernandez's grandfather, died two weeks after that surgery. Hernandez returned to Puerto Rico for the funeral.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 LAD 9, ARI 5 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 7 LAD 8, ARI 5 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 9 LAD 3, ARI 1 Watch

The day he rejoined the Dodgers, a warning was issued for Hurricane Maria.

Earlier this week, while the Dodgers were preparing for the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile against the D-backs, members of Hernandez's family were airlifted to the mainland on a plane chartered by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, who also sent two cargo flights filled with humanitarian supplies.

Hernandez shared credit with Carlos Beltran, whose wife reached out to players from the Puerto Rican World Baseball Classic team, of which Hernandez was a member.

Hernandez helps Puerto Rico relief

Meanwhile, Hernandez is expected to face left-handed opposing starting pitchers platooning in left field with Curtis Granderson in the postseason. He can't wait for NLDS.

"I'm fortunate to say I still love to come to the field," Hernandez said on Wednesday. "This game is saving me, keeping me sane."

Hernandez and fiancée Mariana Paola Vicente have started a fundraiser on social media have started a fundraiser on social media -- YouCaring.com/LosNuestros -- hoping they can do some good, knowing the magnitude of the disaster is beyond comprehension.

"It's a lot of helpless, powerless feelings and you have no control," he said. "You think about the worst-case scenario and it turns out to be worse than that. My parents kept telling me, 'We pictured it would be bad, we never thought it would be this bad.'"

With his family safe on the mainland, Hernandez said focusing on baseball is getting easier.

"For me to come here and take my mind off things for few hours is huge," he said. "Baseball is keeping me and my fiancée going right now. This year I found a place so when things are going on back home, I can still focus on my job. If I don't do that, as quickly as I got to the big leagues, that's how quickly my career can end.

"Even though there's a million things going on in my life off the field, I need to be able to help the team when I'm here. I didn't do that last year and it's not fair to be on the roster and take a spot and not perform."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.