UCSB Infielder Chris Malec Sidelined Following Cancer Surgery

April 14, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara senior infielder Chris Malec will be sidelined indefinitely after having surgery Thursday morning, following a diagnosis of testicular cancer, head coach Bob Brontsema announced today.

Malec, a First Team All-Big West selection as a second baseman in 2004, had the surgery on Thursday morning. He played in UCSB's 9-8 win over 23rd-ranked USC on Wednesday, going 1-for-4, with two runs scored, and a walk.

"Chris is a fighter, and this is a challenge that he is facing head-on," Brontsema said. "He doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him because this is a battle that he expects to win. On the field we will obviously miss him, but to be honest, that just isn't that important right now. What is important is that Chris win this fight, and that's all we are thinking about right now."

Malec, who was moved from second base to shortstop because of an injury suffered by shortstop Chris Valaika earlier in the season, is one of two Gauchos to have played in all 34 of the team's games this season. He is currently second on the team in batting average (.336) and home runs (four), and he leads the team in hits (45), doubles (nine) and runs scored (30). Malec also has 19 RBI.