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Twins say surgery being considered for Miguel Sano's shin

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Miguel Sano (22) hits a single Sept. 30 during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Target Field. Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Surgery is still being considered as a last resort for Twins third baseman Miguel Sano, who has been slow to heal from a stress reaction in his left shin.

Now approaching two months since fouling a pitch off the area around his shin, Sano would require an eight-week recovery should he undergo a procedure more common in the NFL and NBA. A titanium rod would be inserted to stabilize the tibia, which could be why it was deemed useful late last month to have Sano visit orthopedists Martin O'Malley and Robert Anderson, better known for their work with basketball and football players, respectively.

"Surgery is an option there, but we're going to explore every other option before he has surgery," Twins general manager Thad Levine said Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Target Field. "We have a little time there to still give him a chance to have a full offseason, but we're not going to take too much time. We wanted to evaluate that first."

Sano's bulk shouldn't be a complicating factor if the surgical option is chosen, Levine said. At 6 feet 5 and somewhere north of 270 pounds, Sano's physique is more akin to NBA frontcourt players and NFL defensive ends.

Even if Sano avoids surgery, Twins manager Paul Molitor does not see a stint in the Dominican Winter League as a necessity, even after Sano has seen 30 pitches in game action since Aug. 19.

"Off the top of my head, I would say he doesn't need to do that," Molitor said. "He needs to get himself physically ready and healthy, get through that injury and then get himself in the best shape that he can. If he gets a full spring training of at-bats and swings, I'm not worried about him needing to be on the field before that."

Sano, coming off his first all-star selection but unable to stay on the field in the second half, apologized to Molitor in the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium after the Twins' 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Oct. 3.

"He was one of the first guys in my office after the final out," Molitor said. "He said he was sorry he couldn't help us and he was going to come back better than ever and he's going to be ready to play every day. He was emotional. I think it was a little hard for him to watch."

Molitor remains hopeful Sano will be able to serve as his primary third baseman next season rather than transitioning to a full-time designated hitter at age 24. Projecting him for 150 games at third base, however, "might be a little high," Molitor said.