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Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez leaving TV booth following cancer diagnosis

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Buck Martinez, longtime Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster, is stepping away from the broadcast booth after being diagnosed with cancer.

In a statement released by Sportsnet, Martinez said Sunday's game against the Oakland Athletics would be his last for "a little while" as he begins weeks of cancer treatment.

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Martinez, 73, said he hoped to rejoin his Sportsnet teammates for the Jays' stretch run later this season.

The veteran broadcaster's association with the Blue Jays dates back to 1981 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 hired as the Blue Jays' manager in 2001, but was fired midway through his second season with the team 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, before joining Sportsnet's Blue Jays television crew in 2010.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2022.

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