Returning to mound, Danny Farquhar throws out first pitch for White Sox

CHICAGO -- The biggest save of White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar's life happened in a game he can't remember.

Farquhar, 31, suffered a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm while pitching against the Houston Astros on April 20. After collapsing in the dugout, on-site medical personnel rushed him to a local hospital for surgery and subsequent treatment. His first memory was waking up in the hospital five days after he passed out.

"My last memory was walking to the bullpen at 6:30 that day; I didn't have any memories of the game," Farquhar said, trying to piece together for reporters what happened that day.

He was released from the hospital on May 7.

On Friday night, he returned to the mound for the first time. With his medical staff, teammates, wife and three kids behind him, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the team's game against the Milwaukee Brewers -- a strike to fellow reliever Nate Jones.

"We kinda talked about practicing a little bit before, stretching before," Farquhar said. "I knew Nate Jones would help me out with anything; he would dive if he had to so that ball wouldn't hit the ground. But I kinda wanted the challenge a little bit of throwing it."

"It's miraculous when you think about it," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He's a very driven individual -- so I'm not surprised that he's out there today, but we're all happy for him."

Farquhar has been at home since his release from the hospital and continues to receive treatment during his recovery. While he is cleared to throw a baseball, his doctor has not medically released him to pitch professionally this year -- his blood pressure and stress levels need to be closely monitored, and Farquhar said he has ongoing memory issues.

"Aerobically, I'm feeling really strong ... [but] big league baseball compared to other levels of baseball is a big difference," Farquhar said. "I think I'll be back there one day."

Clutching wife Lexie's hand tightly, Farquhar talked about the newfound perspective he's gained since the brain hemorrhage.

"When you wake up in the hospital and you have 20-something staples in your head and a drain coming out the other side, and you have no memories, it puts life into perspective of how quickly it can change," he said.

"One day we're all going to go, but you'd like not to be as young as I am, with three kids [and] one who's 6 months old. ... So it's just --- you look at everybody differently [after something like this].

The White Sox are donating a portion of ticket sales and proceeds from all fundraising efforts from Friday night's 8-3 win over the Brewers to the Joe Niekro Foundation, a organization that supports patients and families and raises funds for research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.

After catching Farquhar's first pitch, Jones threw the game's final pitch as he worked a scoreless ninth inning. Afterward, he was asked what he will do with the ball he used to record the final out.

"I'm pretty sure I'm gonna see if Danny wants it," Jones said. "This game was for him, and I'm glad we came out on top."