Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna is battling an anxiety disorder and is unsure when he will pitch again.
To most of us, professional athletes feel invincible. In many ways they are, the top physical specimens on the planet. No matter how strong they are, however, athletes are human just like the rest of us and can deal with the same mental health issues. Mental illness does not discriminate based on how fast you can throw a fastball.
Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna did not pitch in a save situation on Friday night in Kansas City. Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, and Jason Grilli attempted to hold onto a three-run lead with Osuna unavailable for an unknown reason. The Royals came storming back for four runs and won the game 5-4.
Osuna finally spoke on why he was not able to pitch in the save situation. He also sat out Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Royals.
“I really don’t know how to explain it. I just feel anxious. I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now,” Osuna, who is from Mexico, said through a translator before the game. “I’m just a little bit lost right now.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons did not fully address why his flame-throwing closer did not pitch Friday, merely stating that he did not feel well. Give Gibbons credit for allowing Osuna to address the media on his own terms in regard to his anxiety.
“I wish I knew how to get out of this, but we’re working on it, trying to find ways to see what can make me feel better,” he said. “But, to be honest, I just don’t know.”
Osuna has been pitching in the big leagues since the age of 20, and has always been one of the most confident closers in the game. He became the youngest pitcher in MLB history to record 75 saves, and has a 2.48 ERA with 19 saves this year.
The maturity that Osuna has shown in this situation is beyond impressive. He is a 22-year-old closer in one of the most machismo-fueled sports in the world. As the closer, Osuna, more than anyone else on the roster, is expected to be immune to pressure.
Anyone can struggle with mental illness, even one of the best closers on the planer. There is no reason to hide your own personal struggle if you are battling mental illness. Do not accept the stigma that continues to follow conversations about mental health around the world. Never be afraid to seek the help you need.