Kimbrel returns to Red Sox camp after infant daughter's surgery

Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel returned to camp Monday after spending the last several weeks away from the team to be with his family while his infant daughter underwent heart surgery.

Kimbrel threw live batting practice and said he will be ready for Opening Day next Friday. He has been working out and throwing at Babson College near Boston while away from the team.

"There's no denying it's been the toughest thing we've ever been through," Kimbrel said in a news conference. "In the last week, her recovery has been unbelievable, and she's showing great signs."

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart condition in November. The surgery she had was the second of three that are planned at Boston Children's Hospital. The third is expected to take place when Lydia is 3 or 4 years old.

Lydia is expected to be released from the hospital within a few weeks, per Kimbrel. The right-hander stepped away with the Red Sox's permission, for which he expressed gratitude.

"My family comes first and then baseball comes," Kimbrel said. "Stepping away for a few hours [to work out] was definitely a release. It did help to get in the weight room. It did help to throw the ball. But that's not going to take away the emotions we went through in the hospital.

"She's in a good, comfortable place for me to be down here. If she wasn't, I wouldn't be here."

Kimbrel, 29, is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. He struck out 126 batters in 69 innings last season and had a 1.43 ERA and 35 saves. The six-time All-Star will make $13 million this season before becoming a free agent.

--Field Level Media

03/19/2018 19:30

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