Twins’ Sano takes some cuts at Target Field
MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano stood in the Target Field batter’s box to take his swings a few hours before the Twins took on the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, April 13. He’s still weeks away from a return to the Twins, but seeing Sano hit on the field was a good sign for the team.
Saturday’s development — the first time Sano had hit on the field — was another step forward for the third baseman as he recovers from a cut on his lower-right Achilles area. Sano will head down to the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Fla., during the middle of the week to continue working there, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said.
While the team took its three-city road trip, Sano stayed back in Minneapolis and made progress in his rehab. Sano said, among other things, he has been working in the gym and the training room as well as taking grounders, throwing and hitting.
“I’ve been running, I’ve been swinging, hitting in the cage — BP — and today I’m going to start hitting on the playing field with the whole team,” Sano said before he went out to take his swings. “I hope that I can leave this week and go to Florida and work more down there and come back and get ready to play.”
Once Sano gets to Florida, the Twins will try to imitate spring training for him before starting him in games. Though the cut is healed, he is essentially a player showing up to camp for the first time, as he did not go through that progression in February or March.
That would likely mean Sano would return to playing baseball in early May, Falvey said. A return to the big leagues would then be dependent on how that went.
“That is not necessarily just a quick turnaround, send someone to Florida and send them to Rochester and they’re ready to go,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I don’t think that would be fair to him after everything he has gone through and especially an offseason of getting into the shape he’s gotten. We need him to return to that level of fitness and making sure he’s ready to go before we bring him back.”
Falvey said Sano would likely have another stop, beyond Fort Myers, though whether that’s Double-A Pensacola or Triple-A Rochester has not yet been determined.
“He has let it be known he feels great. I think he’s probably telling everyone within an earshot how good he feels,” Baldelli said. “You can tell he’s not just getting in shape, but he’s in the mindset to get going, get out on the field, start playing. We’re going to see that at some point pretty soon.”
Other injury notes
The Twins plan to send Matt Magill and Gabriel Moya out on rehab assignments this week as they both work their way back from shoulder tendinitis. Falvey said both have been throwing in extended games and will be 100 percent when they go out.
Magill will report to Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, while Moya will go to Double-A on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Twins wanted to separate the two just so they didn’t have multiple rehab guys at one location.
Falvey said he didn’t have much of an update on No. 2 prospect Alex Kirilloff, who is on the injured list at Pensacola. He said Kirilloff had a wrist sprain that he suffered toward the back end of camp. His understanding was that Kirilloff would be out a couple of weeks to begin the season.
Stephen Gonsalves, meanwhile, will be shut down for a couple of weeks. Gonsalves has been dealing with a forearm strain.
“Any time you have forearm related tightness or otherwise for a pitcher, you want to be a little more conservative,” Falvey said.
Addison Reed, left in Fort Myers with a left thumb sprain, continues to focus on strength and conditioning while that heals, Falvey said.
“I think sometimes if a guy’s down with a non-throwing arm-related injury, you can do some other things to try to put him in a good position. But like any other player, you want to try to take advantage of that time in the best way possible, and if it means enhancing continued strength, then there’s (not) one specific area. But I think you might as well use it as an opportunity,” Falvey said.
Jose Berrios will throw on Sunday as scheduled. But behind their No. 1, the Twins are shifting around their rotation a bit as Martin Perez gets set to enter the rotation.
Perez, who has been coming out of the bullpen to begin the season because the Twins haven’t needed a fifth starter, will make his first start on Monday. Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi will follow.
“It’s a little bit different than the way we mapped it out,” Baldelli said.