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Buck Martinez at the Rogers Centre ahead of a Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees game on Sept. 28, 2022.Cole Burston/The Globe and Mail

Buck Martinez will return to Toronto Blue Jays broadcasts this season, after suggesting that he was considering retirement in the wake of a bout with cancer that sidelined him for more than three months last year.

But he’ll be doing so without one of his long-time on-air partners, after Sportsnet said in December it would not be bringing back Pat Tabler, one half of the network’s popular Buck-and-Tabby duo. Martinez will split analyst duties with Joe Siddall, while Dan Shulman will serve as the network’s primary play-by-play man.

Last fall, Martinez told The Globe and Mail that his illness had prodded him to think about stepping away from the microphone. “I’ve been through a lot,” he said, adding that he and his wife “have had a lot of discussions” about what their future might look like. This June will mark 56 years since Martinez signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, beginning a career of 17 seasons as a major-league player, one and a half seasons as a manager and several decades as a broadcaster in both Canada and the United States.

During an interview on the Bob McCown podcast last December, Martinez said he would likely return to the Sportsnet booth, telling the host that he and the network were “getting close” on terms. But he also revealed that he and Tabler were “blindsided” by the network not renewing his partner’s contract. “We didn’t see it coming,” he said. “It’s very, very sad. It kinda reflects the world today, where experience isn’t valued, and consistency isn’t valued, and loyalty isn’t valued.”

The confirmation of Martinez’s return came as Sportsnet announced its on-air TV and radio team for the coming season, which included one other notable change. Arden Zwelling will replace Arash Madani as a sideline reporter, teaming with Hazel Mae in that role on Sportsnet TV broadcasts.

For fans of the old-fashioned experience of listening to a ball game on the radio, but who may no longer own an actual radio, Sportsnet announced it had finally secured the rights to distribute its Blue Jays radio broadcasts through online platforms, including and the Sportsnet Now service. With a growing number of people listening to audio through smart speakers, fans who didn’t have radios had been stymied when they tried to tune in to an online stream and discovered they were blocked during Blue Jays games from listening to the live Sportsnet radio programming.

Ben Wagner will be calling the Blue Jays games for the Sportsnet Radio Network, heard on local stations in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary – and, now, the company’s online platforms. However, with Sportsnet under increasing budget pressures, Wagner will only be in-stadium for home games. He will not travel with the team and will instead call road games from monitors in the network’s downtown Toronto studio.