FORT MYERS, Fla. -- What a difference a year makes.
As Miguel Sanó made his entrance to the Twins' clubhouse Sunday morning and was greeted by teammates and staff members, the consensus was clear: His body looks good.
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During their first in-person look at their 25-year-old cornerstone third baseman after a pivotal offseason, the Twins were impressed with his progress -- both in his conditioning and in his commitment.
"I feel really different from last year, and I hope that this year can be really good for everybody here," Sano said.
With that said, the Twins might need to wait to see the new Sano in action. Manager Rocco Baldelli revealed Sunday that Sano had sustained a laceration to his right heel area while in the Dominican Republic, and he will be fully evaluated Monday. Baldelli doesn't know how much Sano will be limited, or for how long.
A year ago, Sano reported to Spring Training in worse shape after being sidelined for part of the previous offseason while he recovered from shin surgery. This offseason, he incorporated yoga into his routine, focused on agility and mobility and had his sister move in with him to serve as his nutritionist. All the while, he checked in with team staff via weekly videos and FaceTime calls to keep everybody informed of his progress.
He was able to test his new body in game action, too, when he joined Estrellas Orientales, his hometown team in the Dominican Republic, during the playoffs on a run to the Dominican Winter League championship.
"I think the effort level he gave in this offseason showed that he committed himself, to not only his own career, but the organization, too," strength and conditioning coordinator Ian Kadish said. "I think everyone seeing him show up was very, very happy. We're glad to have him here. He looks awesome."
Coming off an All-Star season in 2017, in which Sano hit .264/.352/.507 with a career-high 28 homers, the rebuilding process began in earnest for Sano last June, when the third baseman was demoted to Class A Advanced Fort Myers after a slow start to work on his body with Kadish, then the Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator, at the team's facilities.
"The commitment process started in June, because he realized he needed to make the commitment to himself long term, and he did," Kadish said. "It's still unfolding, and it's still putting in the effort and the work, and I think it's just the start for him."
The Twins won't know Sano's exact condition until his full physical Monday, but they know he's plenty strong, and the continued focus moving forward will be on the quality of his movement. With that in mind, Sano integrated the yoga into his routine on his own initiative after consulting with the team.
Looking ahead, he plans to have his sister move in with him in Minnesota to continue the focus on nutrition.
"New year, 2019, everything's in the past," Sano said. "It's just good to see something different for now and the new Miguel Sano. We've got a great team, so we look at the positive stuff, so the negatives we're leaving in the past."