BOSTON (AP) – Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy is taking an indefinite leave of absence after having setbacks following cancer surgery.

The announcement was made Wednesday on the Web site of New England Sports Network. The 56-year-old Remy does color commentary for the network’s Red Sox games.

Remy is a former smoker who had surgery for lung cancer late last year and later developed an infection and pneumonia, according to the site. The former major league second baseman for California and Boston said he disclosed his illness to reinforce the dangers of smoking.

Former pitcher Dennis Eckersley filled in for Remy at Wednesday night’s game against the Cleveland Indians beside play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo, who has teamed with Remy since 2001.

“I want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or interruptions,” Remy said on the site. “I hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children.”

Red Sox Nation is the team’s official fan club. Fans elected Remy president of it.

“As part of the NESN family, we want Jerry to concentrate on his health and getting well,” NESN president Sean McGrail said. “When he’s ready to return, his place in the booth will be waiting for him.”

Remy started his major league career with the Angels in 1975 then played for the Red Sox from 1978-84. In 1,154 games he hit .275 with seven homers and 329 RBIs.


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