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Ron Gardenhire diagnosed with prostate cancer

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Some bad news from Arizona. The Diamondbacks just announced that bench coach Ron Gardenhire has prostate cancer. He will have surgery to remove his prostate at a date yet to be determined and will take a leave of absence from the team at that time.

“I’m going to fight it and deal with it,” Gardenhire said. “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, 59, is entering his first season with the Dbacks. He spent 13 seasons as manager of the Minnesota Twins, making 6 postseason appearances and winning the AL Manager of the Year Award in 2010. Before that he spent 11 seasons as the Twins’ third base coach.

“We are a family,” said Diamondbacks Manager Torey Lovullo. “As a family, there’s a series of tests that are going to come upon us and this is a big one, but we’re going to come together and help Gardy through this to the best of our ability. We’re not going to miss a step because we’re committed to him.” Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall said, “The entire organization stands behind Ron and we are here to support him through this challenging time. He certainly knows that there are resources throughout the franchise that he can turn to and of course, we will do everything we can to assist him.”

Best wishes to Gardenhire for a successful surgery and a quick recovery.

 

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.