ARLINGTON -- The mysterious illness that knocked Rangers prospect Michael Main off the mound has been officially diagnosed. Kind of. "The last time I went to a doctor was about two or three weeks ago," Main said by phone. "They diagnosed it as an 'unidentified viral infection.' They have hundreds of viral infections they don't have a specific test for or are not named. They're really rare that you can catch it.
"I might have had this virus for quite a while, but I was pushing through it. But my body said 'enough was enough.'" This has been a difficult summer for Main, Baseball America's No. 8-rated prospect in the Rangers farm system and a former first-round pick (24th overall) in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He is hoping the hard trip is ending soon after posting a 7.33 ERA over 12 starts in Class A Bakersfield. Main last pitched in early June with Bakersfield when he began feeling ill. His symptoms included a lymph node swollen to the size of an olive, a rash over his entire body and pain similar to heartburn in his stomach. These symptoms lasted about a week and a half. Main went to Arizona on June 12, where he underwent six rounds of blood work, scans of his abdomen and checks of his spleen and liver. "I'm done with the whole blood work thing," he said. "I'm not a big fan of needles. About every five days, I was giving blood. It was not fun." Doctors ruled out Hepatitis A, B and C, as well as mono and other viruses. "It took the doctors a while to figure out exactly what it was," Main said. "It took them a while to figure out it was a viral infection instead of anything else. The tests weren't leading to anything. They were showing signs, but they were showing to other things. It was a weird case." Main was also afflicted with extreme weakness. He said walking around the mall or other light exercise would wear him out for the remainder of the day. "If you know me," Main said, "that's not normal." The Rangers sent Main back home to Florida on July 13 with instructions to rest and recover, per doctor's orders. He feels much better and has begun throwing and exercising over the past week. Main says he'll travel back to Arizona on Aug. 20, likely to prepare for the instructional league this fall. Doctors are confident he is over his symptoms and say a relapse is unlikely. "The fact that I was getting better week by week, the symptoms getting resolved, they're confident it's getting better," Main said. "They're confident it's going to be resolved. The only way to get better is to rest and let the immune system build up."
Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.