A routine physical, and a subsequent biopsy, revealed a cancerous lump on the neck of Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan, the team announced Monday. Squamous Cell Carcinoma, it is called. As a result, Ryan is being treated by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and is not expected to attend spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.
Ryan, who turned 61 in October, has been Twins GM for 15 seasons over two stints — from 1994 to 2007, and from 2011 to present. A grandfatherly figure, Ryan always has come off as one of the nicer executives in Major League Baseball. Any prayers or good wishes sent his way won't be wasted.
Ryan gave a hopeful statement and made it available on the Twins website:
Thankfully, incremental tests indicate the cancer appears to be confined to my neck and has not spread to other regions of my body.
At the direction of Dr. Eyunni, I am currently being treated at the Mayo Clinic as well as Minnesota Oncology. I've been assured this form of cancer is treatable and remain optimistic about my return to good health in the near future.
Understanding the need to focus on treatment and recovery, I will not be in Fort Myers as we commence Spring Training. That said, I'm highly confident in the proven leadership of our baseball operations team including Rob Antony, Mike Radcliff, Ron Gardenhire and others as we collectively prepare for the 2014 Major League season.
In addition to what might be the health scare of his life, it's got to vex Ryan to miss an important spring training in the club's recent history. The Twins have added right-handers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes in free agency, they're moving Joe Mauer to first base, and they've invited mega-prospect Byron Buxton to camp. Slugger Miguel Sano, too, along with righty Alex Meyer. After a few down seasons, the Twins are on the verge of contending again.
Hopefully, like he says, Ryan will be back to see the organization's moves bear fruit sometime in 2014.
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