DeRosa suffers irregular heartbeat
Infielder expected to be fine, taken to hospital for evaluation
MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs second baseman Mark DeRosa was taken to a local hospital Saturday as a precautionary measure after experiencing an irregular heartbeat during ground ball drills.
"He came in with a rapid heartbeat from doing the things on the field and was having a little trouble breathing, so they called in the medical team," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He's completely stable but better to be safe than sorry, with the irregular heartbeat and so forth; they took him to a hospital to test him. He's fine.
"He's had this before and he's been able to modify it with breathing exercises, but today it didn't go away," Piniella said.
DeRosa felt faint, but never lost consciousness.
"I talked to him, and he was a little nervous but outside of that, he's OK," Piniella said. "I don't expect this to be serious and I don't expect it to be long."
DeRosa was taken out of the Cubs' Fitch Park facility at 12:25 p.m. MT Saturday on a stretcher. He was sitting upright, and had an IV attached to his arm. Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal accompanied DeRosa to the hospital. A Cubs official said DeRosa had been released Saturday night, but because a test took longer than expected, he was instead hospitalized overnight.
"We all have it to a certain degree, a rapid heartbeat type thing," Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot said. "They did an EKG here and he was fine. I think they brought him over [to the hospital] for precautionary reasons to make sure he's all right.
"It's something he's been dealing with since he was a little itty, bitty dude," Theriot said. "I think, personally, it's one of those things that scares you. It scares you when it starts to happen. I've had the same scare a time or two in my life. I think most people experience it in their life."
DeRosa, who turns 33 on Tuesday, was taking grounders at second base when he started to experience difficulty breathing. Theriot said he called O'Neal over.
"It's a scary thing," Theriot said. "I was scared and worried. I went and got Mark [O'Neal] and said, 'Hey, man.' He was fine through the whole thing. I think it was just one of those deals that he was more scared than anything."
Most of the players didn't even know what happened.
"I was on the field, and didn't know he came off until later," Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said. "I didn't realize it."
One of the Cubs team physicians was at Fitch Park to monitor the EKG.
DeRosa apparently maintained his sense of humor.
"He was joking around inside right before he left," Theriot said. "I think once he got off the field he was much better.
DeRosa had a variety of injuries last year. He sprained a ligament in his right ring finger in May, he had to leave a game June 20 in Texas after suffering an ocular migraine, and losing partial vision in his left eye. He also missed two games in July with tendinitis in his left hamstring.
However, this involved his heart.
"It's scary," Piniella said. "Any time you have something to do with the heart, you worry about it. But everybody was pretty well assured that he's going to be fine."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.