Nationals owner had leg amputated for cancer

Mark Lerner, a principal owner of the Washington Nationals, is recovering from having his left leg amputated last week after doctors determined they had no choice following previous surgeries and radiation for cancer in the limb.

Lerner, son of Ted Lerner, the managing principal owner of the Nationals, said in a letter to The Washington Post that he was now cancer-free.

“With my doctors and medical team, we decided that amputation of that leg was my best choice to maintain the active and busy lifestyle that I have always enjoyed,” the 63-year-old Lerner said in the letter. “The limb was removed in early August and I’m healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic.”

According to The Post, the usually present Lerner has been mostly absent at Nationals home games this season and was last in attendance July 30.

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  • “I know you recognize that only something really challenging would have kept me from my favorite seat at the ballpark these past months,” Lerner said in the letter.

    Ted Lerner is a real estate magnate who has been projected by Forbes.com to have a net worth of more than $4 billion.

    The Lerners took over the Nationals from Major League Baseball in 2006, the year after the club was moved from Montreal to Washington.

    Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo informed the team of Lerner’s surgery and condition Thursday night before their game in San Diego, The Post reported, citing a phone interview with the GM.

    “It’s been difficult to explain to players, to staff, to everybody,” Rizzo said, according to The Post. “They want to be private about it, and that’s their right. But his absence was noticed. Not having him in the draft room; he’s always in the draft room. Not having him at the trade deadline, when you’re talking to Mr. Lerner and the group 20 times a day. I know they were keeping him abreast, and he had other things on his mind, but I missed him. It was sad. I was bummed out about it.”

    Lerner said he was diagnosed in January with a rare type of cancer called spindle cell sarcoma that attacks connective tissue. The cancer was found in his left leg above the knee, Lerner said.

    “The radiation treatment eventually caused the wound not to heal properly,” Lerner wrote.

    Lerner said in the letter that his close-knit family has been a boon in his recovery.

    “I’ve been very blessed with my wonderful wife Judy, who has never left my side, our great kids, amazing family and close friends,” Lerner wrote. “I really appreciate everyone respecting our family’s privacy as we’ve gone through this. I’m not sure of the timeline yet, but you know I’ll be at Nationals Park as soon as I possibly can.”

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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