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Brocail back with Padres after two angioplasties, rehab

SAN DIEGO -- Padres reliever Doug Brocail was activated from
the disabled list Thursday, a little over four months after
undergoing the first of two heart angioplasties during the spring.

"I think that the doctor did such a good job that it was one of
those things that if I was willing and not scared to come back,
which obviously I wasn't, that everything would go fine," Brocail
said after a team workout Thursday afternoon. "And it's gone fine.
There hasn't been a single problem.

"My wife's flying out just to make sure it's really me out
there," Brocail joked.

The big right-hander will be available in the bullpen starting
Friday night against the Atlanta Braves as the Padres, who lead the
NL West, open their second half. To make room on the roster,
right-hander Scott Cassidy was optioned to Triple-A Portland.

Brocail has been low-key throughout his ordeal, although he
realizes it could have been much more serious.

The 39-year-old underwent the first angioplasty on March 11
during spring training to clear a 99-percent blockage of the left
anterior descending artery. He had complained of chest tightness
that radiated into both arms. He already was being treated for an
abscessed tooth and asthma.

A doctor ordered a stress test, which came back abnormal.

After the angioplasty, in which a balloon is inserted to open
the artery, a stent was inserted to ensure the artery remains open.

"I keep saying it's all hit me," said Brocail, who made a
rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore. "I went down and had
a good time with the kids in Elsinore, and talked to the coaches
and how the attitude was the day that they found out. It kind of
shocked me how everybody was so scared for me.

"Obviously I appreciate that and I appreciate all the prayers,
but it was one of those things where I never felt like -- other than
seeing the panic in the nurse's face when they told me, 'Oh my God,
don't panic but you need to go to the hospital' -- I never had the
panic of, 'Oh my God, this could be it.' Now, I've sat back and
said, 'Oh my God, if I had pitched that night, I could have been
dead.' I realize that. But I'm a very blessed man."

Brocail underwent a second angioplasty on April 10 after tests
found a coronary blockage separate from the one that required the
first surgery.

"Forget his talent; we signed him to help out in the bullpen,
but with all he's gone through, it's going to be special to see
Doug out there competing again," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We
know how close he was to not being with us in spring training, with
the situation with the heart. We're just thankful it was
discovered. Now it looks like he's back to where he was.

"It's been a long road for him and he's had some setbacks,"
Bochy said. "But he's so tough mentally that he's dealt with it in
a great way, and now he's ready to go, and he's looking forward to
helping this team and he will definitely contribute."

Brocail tweaked his groin when he slipped on the mound recently,
but otherwise said he feels fine.

Brocail signed a $1 million free-agent deal in December.

He was San Diego's first-round pick in the 1986 amateur draft
and pitched with the Padres from 1992-94, going 4-13 with a 4.86
ERA in 39 games, including 27 starts.

Brocail was with the Texas Rangers the last two seasons. He was
5-3 with a 5.52 ERA and one save in 61 games in 2005.