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Rockies’ Jairo Diaz, stung by tragedy, thankful for family and second chances

Jairo Diaz could have faded away. He could have been just another hard-throwing phenom who blazed brightly only to flame out.

Everyone would have understood.

Injuries derailed his promising career and cancer stole his wife. And yet, with faith, family, self-belief, hard work and the glow of his daughter’s smile, Diaz rediscovered happiness.

“I have learned many things, but one would be just how valuable life is,” he said from his home in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela. “One day you are with someone in your family, another day you are not.”

Now Diaz, 28, has a chance to fulfill his promise as a pitcher and become an integral part of the Rockies’ bullpen rebuild in 2020.