Jerry Remy, who disclosed Monday that he has lung cancer again, was asked how he was dealing with things emotionally.
“It’s not easy,” the NESN Red Sox analyst said at Fenway Park as his eyes welled up and his voice cracked. “Look, I’ve been through a lot for a long period of time, but you know, life goes on. I’ve got baseball to keep me occupied. It keeps my mind occupied. I’m strong. I feel strong and I don’t feel there’s anything that can stop me.”
Remy, 64, has been through a lot. What he did not want to speak of but was referring to was that he has a son who is serving a life sentence for murder, something that’s with him always. He has his health concerns. Last week, he made a controversial comment that Japanese pitchers shouldn’t need interpreters during mound visits. Remy clarified his comments by saying that there should be a universal baseball language. He later apologized.
Remy said he got the latest diagnosis after a routine scan two weeks ago.
“Well, it’s obviously disappointing to me,” Remy said. “But it’s something I’ve been through a number of times. I went in for my three-month CAT scan before we went on our last road trip and something did show up. We did a PET scan and that lit up, so it was cancerous.”
Remy said he will have surgery for a third time. This time a triangular piece of lung will be taken out.
“It’s located in one spot,” he said. “Surgery will remove it. There’ll be a recovery time after surgery, but I should be just fine and doing my job after the All-Star break.”
Remy said he will go on the next Red Sox road trip to Philadelphia, Houston, and Kansas City, which begins Wednesday and wraps up June 21, then return for the June 23-25 weekend series against the Angels, which will include David Ortiz Night. On the next Monday, Remy will undergo surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Every three months since I’ve had cancer, I’ve gone in for scans,” Remy said. “The point I’m trying to make to everybody, go see a doctor.
“Dr. [Larry] Ronan [team physician] saved my life eight years ago. I had pneumonia. I was not one to go see doctors. He located something in my lung through a regular CAT scan. An X-ray didn’t look quite right. He moved forward with more tests and they found it early.
“I’ve been fortunate as far as scans every three months. This is the fifth time I’ve had it. Each time I’ve had it it’s been caught early.
“I’ve had surgery twice. I had radiation. I had another procedure, not sure what the procedure was called.
“I’ll deal with it. My message is if you don’t go to the doctors, you don’t have much of a chance to find out.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell, who has been through his own battle with cancer — he had lymphoma in 2015 — called Remy “part of the family.”
“Rem is part of our team,” said Farrell. “All that he’s gone through, he doesn’t dwell on it. The hardship he’s facing and he doesn’t use it as a crutch for anything. He cares about people. He likes to see people do well. In his own fight, you never see the effect of that in the way he talks to us day in and day out.”
“It makes me feel really good,” said Remy. “I’ve been around here almost 40 years. I love being around the players and the coaching staff and management. I feel like I am part of the Red Sox family which have been great to me and I feel the responsibility to be great to them every time I do a game.”
Remy was overwhelmed by fan support.
“The fans have been great to me,” Remy said. “They’ve been behind me since Day One. My Twitter is blowing up today. It’s nice to know that people care. I’ve had enough of cancer. But if other people can avoid it, I hope to help.”
Remy said being around baseball is therapeutic for him, and he also tried to put a lighter twist on the Masahiro Tanaka/interpreter comments, saying “I love baseball, but I don’t love visits to the mound, as I proved last week.”
Remy was initially diagnosed with cancer in 2008, then suffered a relapse in 2013, and again prior to spring training this year. Remy was a longtime smoker but has stopped.
“I’ll be back doing my job,” said Remy, who began his broadacasting career in 1985. “Having it diagnosed early again, I feel blessed that I can get past this.”