Nationals Principal Owner Mark Lerner Discusses Leg Cancer, Limb Amputation

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner stands on the field before a baseball home opener against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park, Friday, April 4, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Washington Nationals vice chairman and principal owner Mark Lerner told MASN's Mark Zuckerman Thursday night he hasn't been a visible presence at Nationals Park this season because he was diagnosed with cancer in his left leg. 

"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 a statement. "In early January, they discovered Spindle Cell Sarcoma in my left leg above the knee. Radiation was completed in March and I had surgery in April to successfully remove the cancer. The radiation treatment eventually caused the wound not to heal properly."

Lerner added that because recovery didn't go as planned, "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 emphasized he is now "healing well" and "cancer-free." 

According to the team's official website, Lerner serves as one of seven principal owners under his father Theodore Lerner, who is listed as the managing principal owner. 

But according to Zuckerman, Mark "has been the public face of the Lerner family" since the franchise moved from Montreal to the nation's capital. 

"I really appreciate everyone respecting our family's privacy as we’ve gone through this," Lerner said. "I'm not sure of the timeline yet, but you know I'll be at Nationals Park as soon as I possibly can."

The Nationals entered Thursday night's game against the San Diego Padres with a robust 13.5-game lead over the Miami Marlins for first place in the National League East.