ST. LOUIS -- Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. is struggling at the plate -- hitting 51 points below his career batting average -- as both of his parents battle serious illnesses.
Griffey's mother is undergoing colon cancer surgery on Thursday. Griffey will decide before the game against St. Louis whether he's in the Reds' starting lineup.
"It's up to her," Griffey said in The Cincinnati Enquirer. "If she wants me [in the lineup], I'll be there."
Griffey's mother is having surgery in Orlando, Fla. His father, former major leaguer Ken Griffey Sr., is suffering from prostate cancer. Griffey found out about his father's condition a week an a half ago.
Griffey's parents are divorced.
"Not one parent but both your parents," he said in The Enquirer. "It's been tough."
Reds manager Jerry Narron said Griffey has given Griffey permission to leave the team if he wants.
"I talked to him about taking Monday and Tuesday," Narron said. "He didn't want to do it. I think his mother doesn't want him to."
Griffey is hitting .243 entering play on Thursday.
"He wouldn't be human if it didn't affect him," Narron said.