Twins legend Killebrew will miss home opener

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March 28, 2011 // UPDATED 12:19 pm - April 6, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss
Although he was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Friday’s home opener, Harmon Killebrew will not be returning to Minnesota for the game. The Twins legend is undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer in Arizona, and it was decided that the trip back could be detrimental to his recovery.

““Nita and I were truly looking forward to coming home to Minnesota to be part of the home opening festivities at Target Field,” Killebrew said in a joint statement with the Twins. “But it turns out the trip to Minnesota would unduly disrupt my treatment schedule so we have reluctantly decided to remain in Arizona with a resolve to defeat this disease.”
 
“Thanks to my doctors, tremendous progress has been made as we remain optimistic and hopeful for a full recovery,” Killebrew continued. “We will miss the pageantry of Opening Day and want to wish Ron Gardenhire and his team the best of luck during the 2011 season. We look forward to seeing everyone at Target Field again real soon.”

Fellow Twins legend Tony Oliva will instead throw out the ceremonial first pitch of Friday, following the unveiling of the statue in his likeness at 11:30 am. In tribute to Killebrew, Oliva’s first pitch will be caught by Casey Killebrew, Harmon Killebrew’s grandson.