Noah Berger interviews Miami Marlins left-hander Devin Smeltzer about surviving pediatric cancer and connecting with kids who are going through the same battle. Smeltzer also reflects on the recent no-hitter he threw for Triple-A Jacksonville and the vibes around the Marlins in the midst of their 2023 playoff race.
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At nine years old, Smeltzer was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. He developed a tumor that required surgery and chemotherapy to treat. The cancer went into full remission in 2012, though he continues to experience occasional side effects (“it’s a lifelong battle”).
“I’ve been able to touch some lives and just give some light at the end of the tunnel for kids going through it and their families, just a little bit of hope that there is normalcy on the other side,” Smeltzer says.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, Smeltzer made his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2019. He pitched 140 innings for them across parts of four seasons, plus a scoreless relief appearance in Game 2 of the 2019 ALDS.
Smeltzer signed with the Marlins as a free agent this past offseason. He’s had four separate stints on their active roster, posting a 6.45 ERA and 6.97 FIP in nine appearances (22.1 IP). In his most recent Triple-A start on September 1, he threw a seven-inning no-hitter, the first no-no of his professional career and the first in Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp history.
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