One MLB catcher sat out last season to take care of his sick wife

Dioner Navarro spent the 2017 season taking care of his wife. (AP Photo)
Dioner Navarro spent the 2017 season taking care of his wife. (AP Photo)

Finding a useful catcher on the free-agent market has always been a tough task. If you were really paying attention last offseason, you might have noticed that one player who had gotten a fair amount of run over the past few seasons was suddenly out of a job.

Former All-Star catcher Dioner Navarro didn’t retire from the game, though. He voluntarily stepped away.

Navarro’s wife, Sherley, suffered a severe stroke about a year ago that put her in a coma for a few months. Navarro decided to sit out the 2017 in order to take care of his wife.

Navarro appeared on the Outta the Park podcast with Barry Davis on Sunday to discuss that experience. Davis also wrote about some of the harrowing situations Navarro and his wife faced over the last year.

Just over a year ago, Shirley [sic] suffered a severe stroke and fell into a coma for several months. Once again, Doctors delivered the grave news to Dioner that his wife wasn’t likely to make it. In fact, they recommended taking her off life support. In conversation this past May, Dioner told me that there was zero chance he was going to take that advice from the medical staff. On this week’s episode he added that upon hearing the prognosis, he closed his eyes, and though he was surrounded by family, he felt a silence and a certainty that she would pull through. He just “felt it”. Miraculously, once again Shirley did what the “experts” said would never happen. Dioner was by her side when she regained consciousness and opened her eyes.

Sherley has been home from the hospital for about eight months now, according to Davis. She is able to raise one of her arms, but is not speaking or walking yet. Doctors don’t expect much improvement from here, but Navarro remains optimistic.

Navarro made $4 million during his last season in the majors, and would have been looking for a contract similar to that had he played in 2017. Obviously, the money hardly matters in this situation. Caring for his wife took precedent over any of that.

Navarro, who will be 34 next month, still hasn’t given up on baseball just yet. He told Davis he’s been working out, and is looking to take a minor-league job if necessary to prove he can still play. In 101 games in 2016, Navarro hit .201/265/.322 with the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.

(BLS H/N: CBS Sports MLB)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik