Harmon Killebrew thanked everyone who has reached out to him during his battle with esophageal cancer. He thanked his wife, Nita, for her support. And he looked forward to being at Target Field for the Twins home opener on Apr. 8.

"When you go through something like this, you're not really sure of what to expect," he said. "The thing that's really been an effect on me is how many people have reached out to me. That's one thing I want to say is to thank all of the people who sent cards and letters and emails and all of the well-wishes. It's really been overwhelming and special. "It sure helped me a lot."

The Twins slugging hero met with the media this morning at Hammond Stadium to talk about his recovery after being diagnosed in December.

``I've lost some weight,'' he said, ``but I'm gaining it back.''

He said his, ``job,'' over the last couple of months has focused on beating cancer, and he's made enough progress that doctors encouraged him to make the trip to Florida. He planned on watching today's workouts and catching up with Twins players and coaches. He'll be here for three days.

He said May will be a big month for him, when doctors will determine if he needs more chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He also plans to be present at the Kwik Trip Harmon Killebrew Classic charity golf tournament, scheduled for June 29 at Mendakota Country Club.

Killebrew looked and sounded great. Having had two parents who have gone through cancer treatments, I prepared myself for someone frail and weak. Killebrew was down a few pounds but looked like his old self. And he was just as gentlemanly as ever.

``I told him, `You look like you're back at fighting weight,' '' Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer said.

I'll have more later and in tomorrow's editions of the Strib. 



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