Drew Cumberland’s Condition Returns, Forces Retirement


In some of the saddest new to come out of Padres camp, prospect Drew Cumberland, who was attempting a comeback after missing all of the 2011 season, informed the team Sunday that he was retiring.  According to Corey Brock of Padres.com, Cumberland told Randy Smith his condition had returned and we was not able to go on playing.

“I talked to Cumby [Sunday] and he said that his symptoms had returned and he just wasn’t going to be able to continue,” Smith said.

Cumberland had announced his retirement last year when diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder that cause him intense migraines and bouts of dizziness, but after receiving specialized treatment, he was cleared to play again.  Unfortunately, it seems the condition is not as controllable as Cumberland and his doctors had hoped.

Cumberland was showing off his impressive skills this spring during the Padres mini camp for top prospects when he decided to call it quits.  He has played in 233 minor league games in his career since 2007, hitting .316/.380/.430.  At one point, Cumberland was considered one of the Padres top prospects.  It’s a shame and a traded of the game that he will not be able to go on.

Randy Smith, the Padres Vice President of Player Development, said, “I told him to take as much time as he needs … but I don’t think that the outcome is going to change.”

While Cumberland did not suffer any additional concussions or blows to the head – something that has plagued him his entire playing career – the rigors of the game and the daily grind may have caught up to him.  Cumberland truly wanted to get back to playing baseball, and he showed up to camp early to get started on mini camp.  Unfortunately, his desire, it seems, cannot overcome his condition.

The condition is called bilateral vestibulopathy.  According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, “Bilateral vestibulopathy occurs when the balance portions of both inner ears are damaged. The symptoms typically include imbalance and visual problems.”

With Cumberland’s retirement due to this rare condition, he will have to go on never knowing his full potential, fans will have to go on with the flashes of greatness he’s shown as their memory, and the organization will have to move on without one of their top prospects.