Former Twins great Viola to undergo heart surgery

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One of the greatest pitchers in Twins history will undergo open heart surgery next week in New York.

ESPN reports that Frank Viola will undergo open heart surgery next Wednesday. He will be unable to serve as the pitching coach for the Mets' Triple A affiliate in Las Vegas.

"Frank Viola underwent a recent medical examination during spring training," the Mets said in a statement Tuesday. "Mets physicians discovered a heart condition that needed to be corrected as soon as possible. Frank will undergo surgery next week in New York. The family welcomes all prayers but requests privacy during this time."

Viola, 53, retired as a player following the 1996 season. He played eight seasons with the Twins. His time in Minnesota was highlighted by the 1987 World Series Championship. Viola, nicknamed "Sweet Music," was named the MVP of the World Series after picking up wins in Games 1 and 7, helping the Twins beat the Cardinals.

The following season, in 1988, Viola won the American League Cy Young Award.

With the Mets in 1990, Viola led the National League in innings pitched, throwing 249 2/3 innings. He finished 20-12 that season and posted a 2.67 ERA.

According to the Associated Press, Viola went 176-150 with a 3.73 ERA in 15 major league seasons with Minnesota, the Mets, Boston, Cincinnati and Toronto.

He had spent the last three seasons as a Class A pitching coach for the Mets. In January, Viola was promoted to be the pitching coach in Las Vegas.

Viola's children have had quite a bit of their own athletic success. His son recently signed a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, his daughter was an Olympic diver in 2012.

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