Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Donaldson, Sanó partners on corners for Twins

@dohyoungpark
February 23, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brandon Drury chopped a sharp grounder to third base, where Josh Donaldson waited on the ball and speared it on a tough short hop. He flicked the ball over to first, where Miguel Sanó made the snag and quickly pulled his foot off the bag before

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brandon Drury chopped a sharp grounder to third base, where Josh Donaldson waited on the ball and speared it on a tough short hop. He flicked the ball over to first, where Miguel Sanó made the snag and quickly pulled his foot off the bag before Drury ran through for the final out of the fourth inning.

That was the first of many connections on the field that the Twins hope to see from their new corner-infield duo over the next several years, as Donaldson made his Minnesota debut and Sanó made his debut as a full-time first baseman in a 5-5 tie against the Blue Jays on Sunday.

With Donaldson newly signed to a four-year, $92 million contract and Sanó inked to a three-year, $30 million extension, the Twins could have one of the most effective corner infield connections in the Major Leagues for the foreseeable future -- whether on defense or, presumably, in close proximity in the heart of the Twins' lineup.

"I don't want to say we've got the best, but if we're healthy this year, something big is coming," Sanó said.

Fortunately for the Twins, that connection is easily forming off of the field, too.

Early in Spring Training, when Donaldson walked by Sanó's locker in the clubhouse, the pair raised their arms above their heads and did a goofy little dance together for several seconds before bursting out laughing in just another example of Sanó's strong cheer in moving across the diamond to accommodate his new teammate.

"He's funny," Sanó said. "He's done a lot of good things for us. We've been talking. We play around a lot here. We dance and we talk."

"It’s unique being in a clubhouse," Donaldson said. "I haven’t really worked a 9-5 [job]; I don’t know how normal that actually is, but at the end of the day, I feel like that there is a lot of guys in this clubhouse, and you’re trying to form and create bonds, and relationships throughout."

This is a move that could only be most successful with Sanó's cooperation, and even though he was coming off a career season as the Twins' starting third baseman with 34 homers and a .576 slugging percentage in 105 games, he was all too happy to move across the diamond and learn the new position on the fly -- and Sanó made sure Donaldson knew that.

Sanó made a clean debut at first base and said on Sunday that he has solicited advice from a wide manner of mentors, from Fernando Tatís to Albert Pujols, on how to best play the position. (Pujols' advice? Stay low to the ground.) Sanó also went 1-for-3 with a single and a hustle run scored following a pair of sacrifice flies.

From the clubhouse to the batter's box to the basepaths, Sanó has done everything right to make this a smooth spring of transition as he moves across the diamond, and on Sunday, he offered a first on-field glimpse of the motivated first baseman and transformational third baseman that are here to not only anchor an elite corner infield, but also a championship team.

"We've got a great lineup, but we're not looking for the Bomba Squad this year," Sanó said. "We got our record, and I don't think they can break it too quickly. This year, we've got something better. We're playing for the World Series."

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.