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University of Missouri

Keeping the Lineup Healthy

Playing right doctor for the Cardinals, Jason Hand.

St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak steered the club to a 2011 World Series title and within one win of a return trip in 2012. So when he tapped Jason Hand, MD ’03, and the St. Louis-based Mercy Clinic as the Redbirds’ official medical provider in January, the responsibility wasn’t lost on the young doctor.

David Freese, Engr ’02, is greeted by his St. Louis Cardinals teammates after hitting the game-winning home run in game six of the 2011 World Series. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

David Freese, Engr ’02, is greeted by his St. Louis Cardinals teammates after hitting the game-winning home run in game six of the 2011 World Series. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Initially, I told my wife, ‘I don’t think I can say yes to this because I don’t think I’ll have enough time to devote to      it,’ ” Hand says. “She said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”

Hand is lead internist and Major League Baseball physician contact for the St. Louis Cardinals. He and Mercy colleague Brian Mahaffey, MD ’93, MS ’98, of Springfield, Mo., recently returned from spring training in Jupiter, Fla., where the duo performed physical exams on the entire roster.

From left, Dr. Lyndon Gross, Dr. George Paletta, Mercy Regional President Donn Sorensen, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, Dr. Brian Mahaffey, MD ’93, MS ’98, and Dr. Jason Hand, MD ’03, at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. Photo courtesy of Mercy.

From left, Dr. Lyndon Gross, Dr. George Paletta, Mercy Regional President Donn Sorensen, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak, Dr. Brian Mahaffey, MD ’93, MS ’98, and Dr. Jason Hand, MD ’03, at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. Photo courtesy of Mercy.

Hand, a native Missourian who grew up in Farmington and practices in Des Peres, is also a lifelong Cardinals fan. He remembers the childhood heartache of the 1987 World Series loss to the Minnesota Twins, and his medical career was just getting under way in 2006 when St. Louis won title No. 10.

Obviously the David Freese home run during game six of the 2011 World Series was huge, too,” says Hand, recalling his favorite fanatical moments.

But his top recent Cardinals memory is a bit more personal. During a physicians’ meeting indoors at Roger Dean Stadium (the Redbirds’ Floridian nest), first baseman Matt Adams blasted a homer off the Plexiglas, startling the doctors. Hand grabbed the ball from the patio ledge, thinking he would take an opportunity to be an autograph-seeking fan.

I went to the training room and said, ‘Man, you just crushed this ball,’ ” Hand says. “I showed Matt the ball, and he said, ‘Hey, thanks!’ and he took it.”