Santo returns to the booth

Santo returns to the booth

CHICAGO -- Ron Santo was back on Friday, and being at Wrigley Field may be the best therapy for the 67-year-old former Cubs third baseman.

Santo returned to the WGN Radio booth after missing 10 games to deal with an irregular heartbeat that forced him to be hospitalized on April 21.

"I'm feeling great," Santo said Friday. "I had a setback. I was walking from the booth to the elevator [after the April 21 game] and I had shortness of breath. I've been on the [exercise] bike, and I'm saying to myself, 'This doesn't make sense.' I had some pain in my jaw so I called my cardiologist."

He was hospitalized that night with atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm. Santo was released a few days later, but did not return to work until Friday when the Cubs played host to the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.

"My heart is the same as it was two years ago, which is great news," he said. "I really have not felt bad."

He is now taking coumadin, a drug used to inhibit the synthesis of clotting factors, and had to miss the last road trip so he could get the medication regulated.

"What I couldn't believe is I felt so good when this came on," Santo said. "I'm going to have this the rest of my life. I've been a diabetic 50 years, I'm very fortunate to be where I am today to feel as good as I am. I'll have some setbacks, but I'll get through them, that's the main thing."

Santo, who is in his 18th year as the Cubs' radio analyst, does not plan on cutting back on any road trips, although he will not go with the team to Washington and Pittsburgh July 2-8. That is right before the All-Star break, and gives Santo a two-week break.

The response from fans has been overwhelming for Santo, who has had both legs amputated below the knee and survived other procedures.

"It makes me feel so good," Santo said of the well wishers. "I was at a convenience store and four people in cars stopped by and said, 'How are you feeling?'"

However, watching the Cubs at times is tough on his heart.

"I had to turn the TV off three times," Santo said. "Then I turn it back on and I hope the score is different."

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