Mariners players gathered for an impromptu closed-door meeting Saturday in which they were told third-base coach Jeff Datz has been diagnosed...
Mariners players gathered for an impromptu closed-door meeting Saturday in which they were told third-base coach Jeff Datz has been diagnosed with cancer.
Datz and manager Eric Wedge stood in front of the team and divulged the cancer, which the coaching staff has apparently been aware of for some time. Afterward, Datz, 53, released a statement to the media saying he is considering treatment options and would comment fully once a plan of action was established.
“It is very possible I may have to miss some games,” Datz said. “I do not want my absence to be a distraction to the team, which is why I am letting everyone know my situation now. Having said that, I am not yet ready to speak about this with the media.”
Datz has had battles with skin cancer since 1989 and has had numerous lesions removed over the years, causing him to wear extra layers of clothing in spring training to shield him from the sun. The specific type of cancer he now has was not disclosed, but a team official said it is not the same one he’s had previously.
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“He’s going to beat this,” said Wedge, who began coaching with Datz in the Cleveland Indians organization and later had him on his staff when he became a big-league manager there. “We’ve all experienced cancer in some way, shape or form. It’s something he’s been dealing with, we’ve all (coaches) been dealing with for a couple of weeks and he felt like it was the right time to announce it to the team, because he is going to miss some time with the team at some point in time and of course release it (to the public).
“He’s touched a lot of people throughout the country over the years. I’m sure they’re going to all reach out to him and give him their total support.
“So, like I told him. I said ‘You’re going to beat it. It’s as simple as that,’ so everybody’s going to do what they need to do to help him and then he’ll be back in good shape.”
Ibanez returns as DH
Raul Ibanez was back in the lineup Saturday as the designated hitter after sitting out the first two games of the series, his batting average having plummeted to .148.
Ibanez promptly singled in the second inning, snapping an 0-for-13 slump.
• Michael Saunders could still rejoin the squad on Monday against Baltimore as he continues his recovery from a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. The plan is to try to play Saunders in the field on Sunday for Class AAA Tacoma, then determine whether he’s ready to rejoin the big-league team.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @gbakermariners