Minnesota Twins great Harmon Killebrew was a sight for sore eyes as he dressed up in uniform at the Lee County Sports Complex and prepared to take some batting practice. Frankly, despite the fact that he is currently undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer, the Hall of Famer looked better than some of the players Minnesota currently employs on the roster.
"(Manager Ron Gardenhire) said it was OK," Killebrew joked, "if I reported a little bit late."
Looking great and in equally positive spirits, Killebrew showed no signs of defeat from his December cancer diagnosis. Since then, he has been undergoing once-a-week treatments at the May Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
When asked about his health, he had this to say:
"I'm actually feeling great. This has been kind of a long process, started in December and I'm still going through treatments, but I'm really feeling good and it's great to be down here in spring training," Killebrew said. "I've got a great team of doctors, and I couldn't be happier right now with the way things have progressed.”
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The famed Twins player explained that doctors had been pleasantly surprised by how his treatment has been going. On top of that, despite the fact that he had lost a lot of weight when the disease first hit, he had regained most of it.
"I think I'm doing good in that department. It's just one of the things you have to go through in this kind of a situation, but I'm doing well," he said. "I couldn't have done this without my wife. She's just been a rock. Nita's been my caretaker and done a tremendous job of trying to get me well."
Killebrew explained that his activities with Minnesota were a welcome distraction from the December diagnosis.
"This is my job right now, trying to get well. That's what my whole day focuses around," he said. "I think it's going to help me a lot (to be at spring training). In fact, the doctors encouraged me to come. I think that's a lot of it, take your mind off the immediate problems and focus on something else is a good thing."