Nationals Principal Owner MARK LERNER on Thursday revealed he was diagnosed with cancer in his left leg earlier this year, and while he is "now cancer-free, complications following surgery and radiation treatment left doctors with little choice but to amputate the leg last week," according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. Lerner in a letter noted he is "healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic." Svrluga notes Lerner's absence this season from Nationals Park "was stark," as few owners are "as visible on a nightly basis." Fans in the park or watching on TV can "easily identify" Lerner seated nearest the Nationals’ dugout during home games. Lerner was "infrequently in that seat" as the season began, and the last game he attended was July 30. He had been "barely present in the months leading up to that." Lerner and his family, who have a "reputation for being intensely private, kept the information tightly under wraps." Senior Nationals execs were "informed only during a homestand that just concluded Wednesday." Nationals President of Baseball Operations & GM MIKE RIZZO "told the team Thursday night." Lerner said that he "underwent radiation, which was completed in March." Surgery in April "successfully removed the cancer," but there were "problems thereafter." Lerner said that he "expects to be able to return to a lifestyle similar to what he enjoyed before he lost the limb." The Nationals said that Lerner will "not be limited in his duties either with the club or the family’s real estate business." Details about his rehabilitation -- both a timeline and where it will take place -- "haven’t been worked out" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/18).
FACE OF THE FRANCHISE: MASNSPORTS.com's Mark Zuckerman wrote although Nationals Managing Principal Owner TED LERNER has been the club’s "highest-ranking official since his family purchased the team" from MLB in '05, Mark Lerner has been the "public face of the Lerner family for the last decade-plus." Mark Lerner has been a "constant presence around the Nationals" and he was in West Palm Beach through most of his team’s first Spring Training in its new complex "even though it’s now known he was already receiving his cancer treatment by then" (MASNSPORTS.com, 8/17).