Blue Jays analyst Buck Martinez leaving TV booth for cancer treatment
Longtime broadcaster, ex-Toronto catcher hopeful of return later this season
Sunday's series finale between the Blue Jays and visiting Oakland Athletics will be the last game for Toronto broadcaster Buck Martinez "for a little while" as he prepares for cancer treatment.
The 73-year-old analyst for Sportsnet announced his diagnosis through a statement Sunday morning.
"I've been so honoured and privileged to have the support of Blue Jays fans, colleagues, staff and players since I arrived here in 1981, and that continued support through this next challenge means the world to me," he said.
"I'm grateful for a tremendous medical team, who has given me great optimism that I will come through this with flying colours."
WATCH | Martinez 'confident he'll be back' in Toronto for pennant race:
Martinez is hopeful of returning to the booth later this season.
"In the meantime," the former Blue Jays catcher said, "I'll be watching from the sidelines as I fight the good fight."
17-year playing career
Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro believes Martinez will face his treatment with "courage, determination, and his signature positivity."
The veteran broadcaster's association with the Blue Jays dates to '81 when he began a five-year stint as one of the team's catchers. Martinez enjoyed a 17-year Major League Baseball career as player that also included stops with the Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers.
He was named Blue Jays manager in 2001 but fired midway through his second season after compiling a 100-115 record.
Blessed with a silky voice and smooth delivery, Martinez first stepped behind the microphone in 1987 as a colour commentator for Jays games on TSN.
He also helped call games for ESPN, TBS and the Baltimore Orioles.
With files from The Canadian Press