““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.