Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire diagnosed with prostate cancer

Posted at 12:30 PM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 19:09:42-05

Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery in about two months.

Gardenhire said he learned the news just a week ago after a physical in Minnesota followed by a visit with a urologist. 

"It all happened pretty quick after that," he said. "I ended up having some MRIs and a few other tests. They took some samples, and it came back that I definitely have prostate cancer.

"The process was a shocker when you hear that word, but there's a lot of people fighting and I'm going to join in on that fight myself."

Gardenhire said he'll likely undergo surgery in mid-April.

"I guess because of all these tests and biopsies and all these things, my prostate's irritated. It's probably a little pissed," he joked. "So they've got to give some time to kind of calm down and we'll get everything set up."

Gardenhire said he doesn't expect to have to undergo radiation or chemotherapy and hopes to be cancer-free post-surgery.

"(My doctor said) 'Once we take this thing out, our goal and the plan is that you are done. You'll be cancer-free and you'll have checkups after that,'" he said.

"The great thing about baseball is we get physicals every year and we get blood tests done every year. The best part about it for me is I know it wasn't there last January ... they believe it's caught early and now it's about getting the thing taken out."

The 59-year-old Gardenhire was the manager of the Minnesota Twins from 2002-14 and accepted a job at the D-backs' bench coach under new manager Torey Lovullo in November.

When he addressed the media Tuesday, Gardenhire maintained a sense of humor about his situation.

"As I told the players and everybody: I've been trying to lose weight. I'm gonna lose a five-pound prostate, and that's good," he said. "So there you have it: We'll get it out of me and we'll go about our business and do some baseball."

In 2011, D-backs president Derrick Hall was diagnosed with prostate cancer but underwent surgery and is now cancer-free.

Like Hall, Gardenhire said he's received a great deal of support form the D-backs organization, as well as the other MLB clubs he's been affiliated with. He said he intends to overcome his situation and set an example for others to do the same.

"I have a lot of people backing me. At home in Minnesota, down in Florida, the Twins organization and my new organization here -- a lot of good people here that are saying prayers for me," he said. 

"And you know what? As I've done everything in my life, we've attacked, and I'm gonna attack this. We're gonna challenge this and beat it. There's a lot of people that look up to baseball players in general and athletes, and I want them to look up to me as a leader, we're attacking this thing, and that's what I'm gonna do."