Nic Enright’s inspiring comeback story takes a sudden turn

On Monday night, the Marlins DFA’d Nic Enright. Here’s what he told Fish On First a few days before the surprising news.

In a surprising move Monday night, the Miami Marlins designated Nic Enright for assignment. Selected last offseason in the MLB Rule 5 Draft, the right-hander is likely to wind up leaving the organization without even appearing for the big league club.

Coincidentally, Fish On First was in Jacksonville last weekend where Enright was nearing the end of his minor league rehab assignment. Even though the Marlins appear to be moving on from him, we hope you still enjoy this article about his incredible road to recovery and career goals.

Nic Enright was drafted in the 20th round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the then-Cleveland Indians. Enright has always been a solid pitcher in the minors who has shown a lot of promise (2.80 ERA and 2.78 FIP in 141.2 IP for their MiLB affiliates), but Cleveland was already extremely deep when it comes to relievers, so they left him unprotected for the Rule 5 rather than make space on their 40-man roster. The Marlins took him and he immediately became the team’s 24th-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

“It’s definitely different everywhere you go,” said Enright regarding the change from one organization to another. “Everyone kind of has different ways of going about things…The data itself is all the same and the way they structure the organization is all the same, but there’s just little tweaks here and there. So for me, getting here when I did, I’m just trying to learn their language and how they present everything and just acclimate myself to how Miami does everything.”

At the beginning of 2023 Spring Training, Enright announced via his Instagram that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a rare type of cancer that impacts the lymphatic system. He had completed his first round of treatments by then, but the health scare pushed his throwing program behind schedule.

“I might have cancer,” Enright wrote at the end of his announcement, “but cancer does not have me!”

“Leaning on my family, my fiancé, my friends, people around me” got Nic through his recovery, he said. “In the same sense that for me to get to where I am from a baseball perspective, it took an entire village of people from the time I was seven or eight years old to the time I am now to get here, it was the same. All of that was the exact same thing where it wasn’t just me going through it—it’s all of them going through it, leaning on them for the good days, the bad and everything in between and I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without all of their help and support…This is just one more thing I got to do and once I get through it, that’ll make being up (in the majors) that much sweeter.”

Enright not only has had help from his family and friends, but veteran big leaguer Carlos Carrasco who went through cancer himself and gave him advice through that tough time.

Miami’s decision to DFA Enright is all the more surprising considering he told Fish On First that he has consistently felt great and he is good to go:

“That’s one thing that’s been really it’s been really weird, but at the same time, I’ve been super fortunate through this entire process. Like I’ve never had any of those physical symptoms, like when you hear the word cancer, it’s really scary and you think of being bedridden and sick and weak and all that kind of stuff, versus I’ve never had that kind of from the beginning.”

Looking at Enright’s rehab starts, he was good for the most part (3.94 ERA), particularly in terms of his control with only one walk in 16 total innings with Triple-A Jacksonville and Low-A Jupiter. His best game came on May 20 against the Louisville Bats (Reds affiliate) where he went three innings, struck out three, and didn’t allow a run or walk.

Enright used a four-pitch mix throughout his month of rehab games, leaning heavily on his four-seam fastball. The pitch’s lack of velocity (averaged 90.2 mph with Jacksonville) does raise questions about how his style will translate to MLB, but it helps when you’re frequently getting ahead in the count the way he is.

All Enright wanted was an opportunity at the highest level. With a bullpen that has had a lot of success in his absence and a full 40-man roster, the Marlins decided not to make room for him.

Enright expressed excitement and confidence in himself to succeed whenever he does get that opportunity.

“It’s the same 60 feet, six inches there as it is here,” he said. “But I think for my family especially it’s going to be super, super cool. My goal is to go out there and do anything I can to help the team win, but I think it’s an accomplishment for them and all the sacrifices that my parents and fiancé and everyone around me have made to help put me put me in the position to get to this spot. And so, yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”

For the full interview with Nic, go to the Fish On First YouTube channel and check it out.

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