By Jeff Horrigan, Post staff reporter
Stan Belinda's worst fear has come true.
The Reds reliever, who has been bothered by the side effects of inflammation of the spinal cord since early June, has learned that he is suffering from the early stages of multiple sclerosis.
Extensive tests conducted in Cincinnati over the last 3 1/2 months failed to turn up the exact cause of the condition, which led to tingling and numbness in the relief pitcher's legs. He was finally sent last week to the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., where Dr. John Noseworthy diagnosed multiple sclerosis.
In a statement released Monday, the Reds said that because the disease was detected in the early stages, Belinda should be able to resume his career next spring following aggressive treatment during the offseason.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe - paralysis or loss of vision, said the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Belinda, who returned to his home in Pennsylvania last month, told the Reds that he will not comment on his condition until the start of spring training in February.
The Reds refused further comment, and general manager Jim Bowden asked medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek not to discuss the matter with the press.
Belinda, 32, was 4-8 with one save and a 3.23 ERA in 40 relief appearances this season. Belinda is under contract for next season, with a club option for 2000.
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