Mets Announcer Ron Darling Taking Leave After ‘Large Mass’ Was Found In His Chest

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There’s some unfortunate medical news for Ron Darling, the former major league pitcher who is now an announcer for the New York Mets.

Darling announced during the team’s game broadcast Saturday that he’s going to take some time off due to a recent medical diagnosis, one that will require surgery.

“A series of tests revealed a large mass in my chest, which will require surgery next week to remove,” Darling said on the broadcast, as reported by Awful Announcing. “Doctors have told me if there are no complications, I should be back on air talking baseball sometime next month.”

Darling did not say whether he had been diagnosed with cancer or any other specific disease. He added that he had not been feeling well for a couple of months, and “I’ll kick its you-know-what.” He joked on the broadcast that Keith Hernandez, his former teammate and a part-time Mets broadcaster, will be doing more games during his absence.

USA Today reported on the medical news prior to Darling’s on-air announcement. That report also said that another ex-Met, Todd Zeile, will do some filling in during Darling’s absence.

The 58-year-old Darling pitched for 13 years in the major leagues, and is best known as a starting pitcher on the Mets’ 1986 World Series championship team, which had one of the most dominant starting pitching staffs in baseball history. Darling has been an announcer since 2000 and has worked in the Mets’ booth, for SportsNet New York, since 2006. He’s also done national work for TBS and the MLB Network.

Darling was recently in the news after he was sued by a former Mets teammate, Lenny Dykstra. Darling claimed in his recently published autobiography, 108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game, that Dykstra, during the 1986 World Series, had directed racial slurs at Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, then a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

Dykstra, per the New York Post, calls the claims “false and self-serving,” and sued St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Publishing Group, the publishers of the book, in addition to Darling. The book also refers to Dykstra, who did a prison stretch in 2012 and 2013 for grand theft auto and filing false financial statements, as “one of baseball’s all-time thugs.”

Darling’s leave of absence, per the USA Today report, is not in any way related to Dykstra’s lawsuit and is entirely for health reasons.

Following the news of the ex-pitcher’s illness, Dykstra wrote, and later deleted, a tweet that included the phrase “karma is a bitch.”

Another player on the 1986 Mets team, Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, died in February of 2012 of brain cancer.