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Las Vegas 51s pitching coach Frank Viola talks about his tumultuous year

Frank Viola was set to be the pitching coach for the Las Vegas 51s last year when he found out he needed open-heart surgery. A year later he is back coaching with a new perspective on life.

Steven Freeman/Getty Images

Mets minor league pitching coach Frank Viola spoke to Anthony DiComo about the open-heart surgery he underwent to correct an enlarged aorta and his subsequent return to baseball.

Before the start of the 2014 season, Viola was tabbed to be the Las Vegas 51s' pitching coach, where he would work with highly regarded prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero. However, a spring training call from his doctor revealed that he would need to undergo surgery. At first he was in disbelief and became concerned about his inability to coach. Yet he quickly recognized the magnitude of the situation and had the procedure.

While rehabbing, he wanted to get back to coaching and was ultimately able to return to the 51s before the end of the 2014 season, albeit with some restrictions on physical activity. Through it all, Viola has gained a new perspective on life:

"I enjoy things a heck of a lot more than I did before," said Viola who recently became a first-time grandfather. "And believe it or not--my wife might argue this one-- but I have a lot more optimism in my life than I did before."

Viola is looking forward to the 2015 season as he is again slated to coach some of the Mets' top pitching prospects at Las Vegas.