Former Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is fighting prostate cancer.
Gardenhire, 59, made the shocking announcement this afternoon via a statement from the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom he joined as bench coach a handful of weeks ago.
"I'm going to fight it and deal with it," Gardenhire said in a statement. "It's a bump in the road and it's not how I envisioned starting Spring Training with a brand new team but it's part of life. With the backing of this ball club, we'll get through it and I'll get through it."
Gardenhire will have surgery at a later date in April and take a leave of absence from the team at that time.
"Carol and I – and my kids – we understand it," Gardenhire said in a conference call. "We're going to go through it, keep our heads high and push on."
Gardenhire, despite more tests looming to make sure the cancer hasn't spread, still has his sense of humor.
"I'm trying lose weight and this may be five more pounds out when I take that prostate," he said with a laugh.
Gardy is the winningest manager in Twins history, going 1,608-1,039 in 13 seasons, including six division titles, one trip to the American League Championship Series and the 2010 American League Manager of the Year Award. He was also Minnesota's third base coach from 1991-2001.
We'll have more this afternoon when Gardenhire holds a conference call with reporters at 3 p.m.