Former Major Leaguer, Loudon County resident Nettles diagnosed with cancer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles will undergo surgery for prostate cancer early next month.

"They told me they got it early," Nettles said Saturday. "It's curable. It's treatable. So I've got to think positive."

The Yankees' spring training instructor was diagnosed with the cancer last November. Doctors told Nettles the surgery could wait until after the team completed its exhibition season.

"A pretty good scare," Nettles said. "They said I may have had it a few years. So there wasn't any urgency, I always thought there would be an urgency of getting it out of your body, but they thought it wouldn't matter a couple months."

Nettles got tested after his brother Jim informed him that he had prostate cancer.

"The doctor said it runs in the family, so I went and got tested," Nettles said.

Graig Nettles said his brother underwent surgery and is doing fine.

Nettles played with the Yankees from 1973-83. He has talked with former New York manager Joe Torre, who had prostate cancer.

"He was the first one I talked to," Nettles said. "He told me what he went through, and recommended the doctors."

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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