Colorado Rockies pitcher John Axford has had a rough Spring Training after his 2-year-old son was bitten twice by a rattlesnake. The boy has been in a tense battle for the past week, and while his right foot has been saved from amputation, it remains possible that one of his toes will be removed.
Axford, meanwhile, is missing Spring Training to deal with the difficult recovery. The team has picked up his option and he's considered safe to make the team's regular-season roster, but the personal battle continues.
The Denver Post reports that Axford had just finished pitching in a Spring Training game when he received a call about his son's accident. At the time, his son was being rushed to a nearby hospital and was in critical condition.
"It was sheer panic," Axford told the Post. "Things got very bad, very quickly."
By the time Axford arrived at the hospital, his son had received anti-venom medication. Although he stabilized, complications developed: His foot swelled, then began to blister, and black spots develops. To save the foot from amputation, doctors had to scrub dead tissue from the boy's foot on a daily basis until the following Tuesday -- a very painful process.
Axford doesn't know when he will return to the team -- he and his wife are vigilantly watching their son's progress, hoping his entire foot will recover and that their son's health will be preserved.
Although the circumstances of the snakebite aren't entirely known, it is suspected that the 2-year-old stepped on a baby rattlesnake in the backyard of Axford's Scottsdale rental.