Sutcliffe, a baseball analyst for ESPN, was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer after taking a routine test during a physical, the network said Thursday. He said he hopes to return to the network later this year.
"I deeply appreciate the support of the ESPN family and my family and friends around the country," Sutcliffe said in a statement released by the network.
Sutcliffe went 171-139 in parts of 18 seasons, retiring in 1994 after pitching for the Dodgers, Indians, Cubs, Orioles and Cardinals. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1979 for Los Angeles and the Cy Young Award in 1984, for the Cubs.
He joined ESPN in 1999 and has been an analyst during game telecasts since 2002. He was scheduled to travel to Japan for the season-opening games between Boston and Oakland on March 25-26. Sutcliffe will be replaced by Steve Phillips.
"Rick is an integral member of our baseball team and we wish him a full recovery," ESPN vice president of event production Tim Scanlan said. "We will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers."