Twins' Ryan to have cancerous lump removed

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 11, 2014 - 12:03 PM

The prognosis for a complete recovery is good for the general manager, but he might miss all of spring training.

Terry Ryan had planned to spend Tuesday flying to Fort Myers, Fla., for spring training. Instead, he will spend the day on an operating table at the Mayo Clinic, having some lymph nodes — and a cancerous lump that developed in his neck last month — removed.

The Twins general manager was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer last week, the team announced Monday, and he will not attend the start, or perhaps any, of camp in Florida this year. After the lump is extracted, the 60-year-old Ryan likely will require radiation treatments to eradicate any lingering cancer cells and prevent a recurrence.

“There was cancer nowhere else, and that’s very good news,” said Dr. Vijay Eyunni, the Twins team physician. “The prognosis at this point [is], we’re very optimistic” that it will be completely cured, though it’s too early to predict when he might be healthy enough to return to work.

Assistant GM Rob Antony will take charge of the team while Ryan is away, making decisions about the roster and transactions with input from longtime director of player personnel Mike Radcliff and manager Ron Gardenhire, as well as the on-field and front-office staffs.

“I started asking him questions — how do you want me to handle this or that?” Antony said of a meeting Thursday, when Ryan revealed his condition. “He just looked at me and basically said, ‘You’ve been around here long enough. You’ve been in all these meetings. Just go down and do your thing. You know what you’re doing.’ It felt good that he had that kind of confidence in me.”

Ryan also has confidence, which his doctors share, that the cancer can be dealt with permanently. Late last month during a routine annual physical, he asked Eyunni to examine a lump, an inch in diameter and unusually hard, that had appeared a few weeks earlier. After ruling out a cyst, Eyunni conducted a biopsy, which found the lump to be cancerous. Further examination could find no source for the cancer, however, nor any more cancerous cells in any other part of his body.

Surgery upcoming

The normal treatment, particularly when found early as in this case, is to surgically remove the affected cells and use radiation to eradicate the disease. Ryan checked into Mayo Clinic in Rochester on Monday, conferred with specialists and, Eyunni said, probably would undergo surgery Tuesday. He likely will remain hospitalized for two or three days before returning to his Eagan home.

“He wanted to hit it head-on, then move on,” Eyunni said. “ ‘Let’s get this taken care of right away, as usual. You know how he talks.’ ’’

“It’s a difficult day any time a loved one is diagnosed with cancer,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “That said, we know that Terry is in the best medical hands in the country, and we share his high level of confidence that better days are ahead, and he’ll be back at in the relatively near future.”

He won’t, however, be in Fort Myers when pitchers and catchers report Sunday, or when camp opens next week. But the Twins’ operation hardly will change at all, Antony said. Who to cut, what moves to make — all will be made by consensus. Antony said Ryan will be kept up to date on the team, and his input will be sought as much as his health allows.

“We all believe the same things that Terry does. We’ll do it the same way we always did, just with one fewer person,” Antony said. “Terry was always the final, authoritative call, but Gardy always has his say, Mike and I give our opinions, and we talk it out. We never had a lot of situations where we disagreed or where we say, ‘Flip a coin.’ ”

Ryan has been with the Twins since 1986, and is in his second stint as GM. He held the post from September 1994 until the end of the 2007 season, then served as a special assistant to Bill Smith before returning to the position on Nov. 7, 2011. Antony, a 27-year Twins employee, has been his top assistant ever since.

“Baseball is baseball, [but] this is a friend,’’ Gardenhire said. ‘‘Terry is as tough as they come and he will meet this head on. Baseball will go on — we’ll do what we have to do. It is all about getting him well.”

Ryan and his wife, Karilyn, have two grown children, “and I know they were a concern for him,” Antony said. “He was struggling with thinking about how his kids were going to take it, and I know his wife was having a tough time.”

Ryan expresses optimism

He released a statement Monday, though, emphasizing that “I’ve been assured this form of cancer is treatable, and [I] remain optimistic about my return to good health in the near future.’’

Ryan’s statement also thanked Eyunni, “as well as the doctors and medical staff at the Mayo Clinic and Minnesota Oncology. In addition, we are grateful for the many friends and colleagues who have sent their well-wishes and support throughout this challenging time. It’s my intention to see you back at the ballpark as soon as possible.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New Orleans 7:25 PM
Carolina
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:00 PM
Orlando
Detroit 7:00 PM
Minnesota
New York 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Utah 7:30 PM
Dallas
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Chicago 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Arizona 6:30 PM
Florida
San Jose 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Anaheim 7:00 PM
St. Louis
NY Islanders 8:00 PM
Colorado
Montreal 9:00 PM
Vancouver
(2) Florida State 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 7:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close