Detroit Tigers

Francisco Rodriguez
Getty Images

Detroit Tigers pitcher contracts Zika, advises Olympic hopefuls

Leave a comment

Detroit Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez says he contracted the Zika virus over the offseason in his home country of Venezuela and advises potential Olympic athletes to educate themselves on the virus before heading to Rio de Janeiro.

Rodriguez told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he wouldn’t blame athletes for skipping the Olympics, and that “if they have plans to have kids in the future, you’ve got to think about it.”

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

Rodriguez says he was bedridden for about two weeks with head and body aches, sore joints and other symptoms. It felt like he had a cold at first, but as symptoms worsened, he went for bloodwork that determined it was Zika. It took about two months until he felt normal again.

The World Health Organization last week rejected a call from 150 health experts to consider postponing or moving the Olympics due to Zika in hard-hit Brazil. WHO argued the shift would make no significant difference to the spread of the virus.

A number of possible Olympic participants have voiced concerns about Zika recently, including Pau Gasol, Serena Williams and Rory McIlroy. Gasol says he has considering skipping Rio altogether.

“It’s something people have to be careful with and worry about,” Rodriguez said. “There’s no vaccine for it. It’s not like you take a shot and (improve). … It could be global.”

MORE: Medals or mosquitoes? Zika still talk of Olympic golf

Patrick Chan defends Detroit, inspired by Justin Verlander

Patrick Chan
Leave a comment

Three-time reigning world figure skating champion Patrick Chan made headlines earlier this year when he switched training bases from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Detroit.

The Canadian feels at home in his new surroundings, even if outsiders don’t see it so cozy.

“Honestly, sure the first thing people say about Detroit is how they’re bankrupt and it’s run down,” said Chan, according to the Canadian Press. “But honestly it’s growing, it’s making a reversal. I go out every weekend with friends, we go to really great restaurants, it’s not like it’s Armageddon. It’s not like it’s wasteland, it’s still a really nice place, it’s culturally abundant and a place I’m really happy to be at.”

So happy that he’s getting into the Motor City sports scene.

Chan, a Red Wings fan, compared his mentality to a quote from Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander after the ace “won the game against the Boston Red Sox” in the playoffs. (Verlander lost to the Red Sox, and the Tigers also lost the series, but the point remains)

Chan remembered Verlander being asked: “How did you know you were going to win?”

“And he was like, ‘Well the minute I stepped on the mound, I knew I was going to win,'” Chan said. “I noticed that when I won my first World Championship, the minute I stepped on the ice, I knew I was going to win. There was no question, there was no doubt, there was no worry. I was just there to do my job, I was kind of like a robot.”

Chan makes his Grand Prix season debut at Skate Canada on Friday and Saturday.

Key information for Skate Canada