Grieving Barmes to leave team

Grieving Barmes to leave team

ATLANTA -- Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes will leave the club to mourn the death of a family member after Tuesday night's game, and will miss one and possibly two games of a homestand that starts on Wednesday.

Barmes will miss Wednesday's game against Cincinnati and is not expected to land in Denver until sometime during Thursday night's game with the Reds.

His first cousin, Nathan Barmes, died at age 21 after a lifelong bout with a rare inherited disease, adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). A true story about a young man who has survived the disease against tremendous odds was dramatized in the movie, "Lorenzo's Oil."

According to the Web site for The Myelin Project, ALD is a "condition that triggers a build-up of saturated very long-chain fatty acids in the brain." Myelin operates as in the nervous system the way insulation operates around electrical wire, and diseases such as ALD and multiple sclerosis attack myelin.

"He was like a younger brother," Barmes said. "He was on my dad's side, the son of my dad's brother, and I grew up with him and his family.

"With the rare disease that he had, we were lucky to have him that long. He had to have a bone marrow transplant. It was starting to take at first but I don't know what happened from there. It's been serious, always has been serious, but the last three weeks have been the hardest."

Barmes, who entered Tuesday night's game at Atlanta batting .252 with a home run and 16 RBIs, didn't hesitate to ask for time to return to Vincennes, Ind., to be with his family.

"I would definitely do anything for anyone in my family," Barmes said. "I just wish there was more that I could do for Nathan, especially."

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said, "It's unfortunate. [The funeral] is something he can make and be a part of, and he very much wants to be there. So we want to honor his request."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.