Monday, February 10, 2014

Terry Ryan has cancer

Terry Ryan at a spring training game last spring

Terry Ryan, general manager of the Minnesota Twins, announced today that he is undergoing cancer treatment and will not be going to Fort Myers for spring training. At least not for the start; the statement's wording does not preclude an eventual arrival.

Skin cancer would figure to be an occupational hazard of baseball scouts, and Ryan said he has squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, in his neck, but it apparently in a lymph node. His statement says it has not spread and is treatable, so presumably this is not something that will force him out of the job.

Also presumably, this underlines one of the advantages of the Twins baseball ops stability. Ryan's lieutenants -- assistant general manager Rob Antony, special assistant Wayne Krivsky, manager Ron Gardenhire, farm director Brad Steil -- know the plan, know the philosophy, know the expectations. There will be plenty of consultations and discussion, and even if Ryan is too indisposed on occasion to deal with things, his aides can handle things.

Still, having Ryan out of the picture this spring (assuming he's not in Florida at all for training camp) does not figure to benefit the team. I would think, for one thing, that it sharply reduces the chances of a "bold" decision this spring -- such as deciding that Miguel Sano is ready for the show now. Sano is not, and was not, likely to come out of camp with the third base job, but it it were to happen, Ryan would have to be enthusiastically on board. That's unlikely if he's not there to monitor the situation.

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