Newcomer to Baseball's Disabled List: Anxiety

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2009 1:57 PM CDT
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto spent time on the disabled list this spring for mental-health reasons.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Major League Baseball’s disabled list has expanded to include a previously touchy ailment, the Wall Street Journal reports—anxiety. Three players have recently sat out games because of publicly acknowledged cases of the “butterflies,” an admission unheard of just years ago. Though the airing of psychological problems is rare in baseball, they are openly spoken of in other sports from golf to archery.

MLB says teams have maintained private assistance for anxious players for the past 20 years, and psychological maladies are treated “no differently” than physical ones. One psychologist who treats baseball players urges them to harness their disquiet. “Anxiety is a symptom that tells me you’re ready to play,” he says. Players just need to “get the butterflies lined up in the same direction.” (Read more baseball stories.)