Blue Jays broadcaster Martinez stepping away due to cancer

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez has been diagnosed with cancer and will be stepping away from the broadcast booth.

Martinez said in a statement released by Sportsnet that Sunday’s game against the Oakland Athletics would be his last for “a little while” as he begins weeks of cancer treatment.

“I’m grateful for a tremendous medical team, who has given me great optimism that I will come through this with flying colors,” Martinez said. “I hope to rejoin my Sportsnet teammates for the stretch run later this season, but in the mean time I will be watching from the sidelines as I fight the good fight.”

Martinez has been associated with the Blue Jays since 1981, when he began a six-year stint as one of the team’s catchers. He played 17 big league seasons in Toronto, Kansas City and Milwaukee.

He was hired to manage the Blue Jays in 2001 but was fired midway through his second season after compiling a 100-115 record.

Martinez began his broadcasting career as a color commentator in 1987 for Blue Jays games on TSN, and he’s also worked for ESPN, TBS and the Baltimore Orioles. He joined Sportsnet’s Blue Jays television crew in 2010.

Mark Shapiro, the team’s president and CEO, called Martinez a dear friend of the Blue Jays and a fixture in the Canadian baseball community.

“We have no doubt Buck will face the road ahead with courage, determination, and his signature positivity,” Shapiro said in a statement.

“We look forward to seeing him at the ballpark and on the broadcast again soon.”

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