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Galarraga licks second bout with cancer

Associated Press
Published May 26, 2004

CARACAS, Venezuela - Andres Galarraga has beaten cancer for a second time and is hoping to get back to the major leagues.

Galarraga said Tuesday he recently finished two three-week chemotherapy sessions and was hospitalized for 23 days for additional treatment for the same non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that sidelined him in 1999 when he was with the Braves.

"It was very difficult. I had a lot of nausea," he said. "But I always was optimistic. ... Thank God it worked, and I feel better than ever."

He said he was pronounced fit last week after a checkup at a Chicago medical facility.

"The news was excellent," he said.

Beaming and looking healthy at a news conference, Galarraga, 42, said he wants to get back to the majors so he can reach 400 home runs. In 18 seasons, Galarraga has 398. The first baseman known as the Big Cat hit .301 last season with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs for the Giants. He also has played for Montreal, St. Louis, Colorado, Atlanta and Texas during his career.

"I will play for anyone to get the home runs I need to reach 400," he said.

Galarraga said he plans to create a foundation for cancer victims and work with Venezuelan youths hoping to make the majors.

"If I don't sign with a pro team I'd like to work with children, not only training them to play but also preparing them, like teaching them English, so they're ready," he said.

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