Padres’ Matt Williams to take leave after Opening Day due to colon cancer

San Diego Padres third base coach Matt Williams was diagnosed with colon cancer in early March and is slated to take a leave of absence from the team after Opening Day, manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.

“He might be the toughest guy I’ve ever come across in baseball,” Melvin added, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. “I know in particular that he’s going to give this the fiercest effort of his life and he’s going to beat it.”

He is slated to undergo surgery on Friday and said that tests indicated no spreading.

Williams, 57, was entering his second season as the Padres’ third base coach on Melvin’s staff. He previously won the 2014 NL Manager of the Year award in his first year as a skipper, leading the Washington Nationals to an NL East title and 96 wins. He was fired the following year and owns a 179-145 overall record as a manager.

A five-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, and four-time Silver Slugger, Williams also enjoyed a storied 17-year playing career, primarily with the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks.

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