Cardinals great Brock has left leg amputated

Brock Bob Gibson are shown before the start of a baseball game between the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, in St. Louis. Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, a former base stealing champion, has had his left leg amputated below the knee due to an infection related to diabetes. The Cardinals and a longtime friend and business associate confirmed that the 76-year-old Brock had had the procedure done. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, a former base stealing champion, has had his left leg amputated below the knee due to an infection related to diabetes.

The Cardinals and a longtime friend, Dick Zitzmann, confirmed Wednesday that the 76-year-old Brock had had surgery in October. Brock is undergoing therapy at an area hospital and will be fitted for a prosthetic leg.

Brock was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 15 years ago and had the procedure done Oct. 27, Zitzmann said.

“He’s got a long road ahead, but he’s a tough guy,” Zitzmann said. “He’s got a great attitude.”

Brock has been a national spokesman for a diabetes drug manufacturer the past five years or so. Zitzmann said Brock “watched his diet meticulously.”

Brock stole a National League-record 938 bases, including 118 in 1974, and was known as the Base Burglar. He also had 3,023 hits, becoming a star after a celebrated trade from the Cubs in 1964 for pitcher Ernie Broglio. Brock batted .391 with four home runs and 10 steals in 21 World Series games.

Zitzmann arranges appearances for Brock and other Cardinals Hall of Famers. He said Brock complained of leg pain on the return flight from a show in Washington, D.C., about a month before the operation.

“The infection got real bad, real quick,” Zitzmann said. “It just happened so fast.”

Visits from former Cardinals teammates, including fellow Hall of Famers Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson and Whitey Herzog, have helped keep Brock’s spirits high.

Brock has been a regular guest instructor at spring training for many years. Zitzmann said Brock promised Schoendienst, who managed him on two World Series teams in the 1960s, that he’d be there on Opening Day.

The 92-year-old Schoendienst, an assistant to general manager John Mozeliak who often suits up before games, wasn’t satisfied, Zitzmann said. He told Brock to aim for spring training.

The autopsy has been completed on former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson, the GBI said Wednesday. But no preliminary findings were released and likely won’t be until the toxicology testing is completed, which could take up to three months.

“It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle, and you’ve got to have all of the pieces together to make a determination,” Coweta County coroner Richard Hawk told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.

Hanson, 29, died late Monday at Piedmont Hospital, one day after he was found not breathing at a friend’s Newnan-area home, according to police. Brandon Bond called 911 Sunday morning to report Hanson was not breathing, a Coweta County Sheriff’s Office report states.

The initial police report does not provide specifics about what Hanson may have overdosed on, but lists “overdose” as the possible crime. The report does not include any additional details about why “overdose” was listed as a possible cause.

There is no indication or suspicion of foul play, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

Toxicology results could take up to 12 weeks to be finalized, Hawk said.

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman followed through on his vow to aggressively transform his team during the offseason, acquiring switch-hitting outfielder Aaron Hicks from Minnesota for catcher John Ryan Murphy and dealing infielder Jose Pirela to San Diego for a minor league pitcher.

The 26-year-old Hicks takes the roster spot of Chris Young, who became a free agent, and the move could be a precursor to trading All-Star Brett Gardner.

The 14th overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft, Hicks hit .256 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 97 games for the Twins this year, including .307 with six homers and 11 RBIs in 101 at-bats against left-handers.