The most familiar of Yankee faces won't be here in Tampa later this week when pitchers and catchers report for the start of Spring Training.

Trainer Gene Monahan, a beloved clubhouse and dugout presence, will miss Spring training and possibly the start of the regular season to deal with “a significant illness," the team announced Sunday morning. Our best to Monahan or, as he's known to just about everyone in the Yankees' universe, "Geno." 

The full release by the Yankees:

"The New York Yankees announced today that Head Athletic Trainer Gene Monahan has developed a significant illness and is taking a medical leave of absence effective immediately, which will cause him to miss 2010 spring training in Tampa, Florida, and possibly the first portion of the 2010 regular season. Prior to this season, Mr. Monahan had worked 47 consecutive spring trainings for the Yankees organization from 1963 through 2009.

Mr. Monahan will remain in New York to receive extensive treatment, which will take place over the next several weeks.

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“I miss not being around my professional family already, but I’m battling,” Mr. Monahan said. “The New York Yankees have gone above and beyond in this most difficult time. I couldn’t do this alone, but with the support and love of my immediate family, my family within our organization and the dedication and expertise of many fine doctors, I look forward to resuming my role with the team this season.”

Mr. Monahan is the longest-tenured head athletic trainer in the Major Leagues, having worked in that capacity for the last 38 years. He was honored with induction into the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2009, Mr. Monahan received the National Athletic Trainers Association Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award.

Steve Donohue, who has worked 25 consecutive seasons as Assistant Athletic Trainer under Mr. Monahan and 31 overall seasons in the Yankees organization, will serve in Mr. Monahan’s role during his absence."