NEW YORK – Former Twins ace Frank Viola will undergo heart surgery next week, the New York Mets announced.
The 53-year-old Viola retired as a player following the 1996 season. The Mets made him pitching coach at Class AAA Las Vegas in January after he spent last year in that role at Class A Savannah.
The Mets said in a statement Tuesday that during a spring training exam, team physicians “discovered a heart condition that needed to be corrected as soon as possible.” Viola will have his surgery in New York.
“The family welcomes all prayers but requests privacy during this time,” the team statement said.
Viola began his career with the Twins, pitching for them from 1982 to ’89. Viola won the 1987 World Series MVP and 1988 American League Cy Young Award with the Twins before being dealt to the Mets in July 1989 for five pitchers, including Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani.
Viola went 176-150 with a 3.73 ERA in 15 major league seasons, including 112-93 with the Twins.
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS