David Hess, a right-handed pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays organization, announced on Twitter this weekend that he had been "cured" and cleared for activity, just three months after being diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his chest.
Hess, 28 years old, went to the emergency room last October after experiencing chest tightness and shortness of breath. Subsequent testing revealed that he had a cancerous germ cell tumor that was "pressing majorly" against his heart and lungs. He began to receive chemotherapy treatment shortly thereafter. At the time, Hess tweeted that he was "confident this will be all gone from my body and I'll be back to doing what I love on a baseball field soon and be healthy doing it."
Hess later provided an encouraging update in late October, tweeting "the tumor has shrunk a couple centimeters so far and seems to be moving in the right direction!"
Got the news today that I’ve been “cured” and cleared for all activity! There’s a spot that we’re watching but expect to clear in a few weeks. I can’t thank everyone enough for the prayers, support, and love through this. Time to get back to work and on a mound hopefully soon 🙏 pic.twitter.com/5L8P9k03Sj— David Hess (@hess_express28) January 28, 2022
To date, Hess has appeared in 62 games over four big-league seasons with three different teams: the Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Miami Marlins. He's amassed a 6.25 ERA (72 ERA+) and a 2.01 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those contests, but he has long been identified as someone with greater potential than his numbers indicate. The main reason for that optimism? Hess' slider, which has reliably generated whiff rates exceeding 30 percent during his various big-league stints.
Once Major League Baseball's owner-imposed lockout is lifted, Hess will officially begin his third stint with the Rays organization. He originally joined Tampa Bay in December 2020 as a minor-league free agent. The Rays traded him to the Marlins last July, but he rejoined Tampa Bay after he was released in August. Hess then re-upped with the Rays on another minor-league deal back in November.
Hess was originally drafted by the Orioles in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by way of Tennessee Technological University.