Ron Darling to take leave of absence from Mets broadcasting booth for health reasons

Ron Darling is expected to take a leave of absence from the Mets broadcasting booth. (Photo: Handout)

New York Mets broadcaster Ron Darling, who is being sued by former teammate Lenny Dykstra, is expected to announce Saturday that he is taking a leave of absence from his broadcasting duties because of health reasons, two close friends of Darling told USA TODAY Sports.

The friends spoke only on the condition of anonymity because Darling had not yet made his public announcement.

Darling, the former Mets’ pitching great who is beginning his 14th season as the Mets’ analyst for SNY, insists to friends that his reason for stepping down is solely related to health reasons, and not the Dykstra lawsuit.

Dykstra sued Darling, his former teammate, along with St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Publishing Group over a passage in his new book  accusing Dykstra of directing racist comments toward Boston Red Sox pitcher "Oil Can" Boyd during the 1986 World Series.

Darling, in his book: “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game," wrote that Dykstra was "one of baseball's all-time thugs" and was in the on-deck circle at Boston's Fenway Park before Game 3 of the 1986 World Series shouting racist insults towards Boyd. Darling called it "the worst collection of taunts and insults I'd ever heard — worse, I'm betting, than anything Jackie Robinson might have heard, his first couple times around the league."

The lawsuit filed by Dykstra said: “No such racist tirade ever occurred.’’

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