Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen takes leave of absence to be with ill wife
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen has stepped away from the team to spend more time with his wife, Nicole, who he revealed in February was battling a brain tumor.
“I went to Derrick [Hall] a few days ago just kinda explaining where things were at and for me personally,” Hazen said Friday. “First off what I want to say is Nicole is doing OK. She’s grinding along, but being realistic about the journey that we’re on right now, knowing what my job demands and knowing that the most important thing to me is demanding a percentage of my physical time is starting to creep into the ability for me to do that here physically.
“The long homestands, the travel is becoming a little harder for me to do my job to the best of my ability and still making what is the most important thing in my life the most important thing.”
There is no time table for his return to the team, D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said after the announcement.
Hazen told Doug & Wolf that his wife had been batting the cancer since last May, when she suffered a seizure. She had undergone radiation treatments, surgery and rehabs by that point.
“Mental health is something that is big in sports, it’s big in life,” Hazen said in February when discussing his wife’s cancer battle. “It’s something we’re diving into and trying to understand the best we can. It’s hard to support other people when you can’t support yourself.”
“It came as a complete shock and surprise what was in there,” Hazen added. “And, you know, it’s been a long road for her.”
With Hazen away from the team, assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye will take over day-to-day baseball operations.
“We thought it was just a matter of time for him to come to this conclusion and it’s at a time where he really needs to be there rather than here,” Hall said. “He would have felt the pressure or the guilt to be here and we don’t want that. We’ll get through this and with him. He’ll be a part of this as well. It’s not as if he’s just going away.”
Sawdaye followed Hazen to the Diamondbacks in 2016 after 15 years with the Boston Red Sox.