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Sano's first homer of '19 is a laser in Seattle

@DKramer_
May 19, 2019

SEATTLE -- Miguel Sanó flashed the flair of his old self in Saturday's 18-4 win vs. the Mariners, crushing his first homer of 2019 in convincing fashion. The Twins’ slugging third baseman laced a 383-foot solo shot that left his bat with an exit velocity of 106.3 mph and smacked

SEATTLE -- Miguel Sanó flashed the flair of his old self in Saturday's 18-4 win vs. the Mariners, crushing his first homer of 2019 in convincing fashion.

The Twins’ slugging third baseman laced a 383-foot solo shot that left his bat with an exit velocity of 106.3 mph and smacked against the hand-operated scoreboard in left field 4.2 seconds later.

It was Sano’s 85th career homer, his first since Aug. 30 of last year.

“Oh yeah, when I hit it, I knew it was going to be a homer,” Sano said.

Sano was activated before Thursday’s series opener and has gone 3-for-12 with a pair of doubles and the homer through the first three games. His lengthy path back to the Majors was stalled when the former All-Star suffered a laceration on his right heel in late January during a trip to the Dominican Republic.

Sano is coming off a 2018 season that was a glaring disappointment to both him and the club, headlined by a Minor League demotion, a hamstring injury in April and a knee injury in September. He played in just 71 games and slashed.199/.281/.398.

Sano is healthy and in the best shape of his career, the Twins say. And his return comes at a time when the Twins are without breakout catcher Mitch Garver and designated hitter Nelson Cruz, both of whom were placed on the injured list this week.

“I think it’s a great sign and he’s put good swings on the ball,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He looks good. His Spring Training just kind of ended and this is him just getting going, but you can already see the things that he can do.”

Sano was a 2017 All-Star and the Twins’ offensive catalyst. His return to the lineup, and at full strength, is vital for a club that is emerging as a clear postseason contender through the first eight weeks of the season, having already built a 5 1/2 game cushion in the American League Central entering play on Saturday.

“We've got a great manager, a good staff and good players. I'm really happy about the moment. We have a good chance to be a championship team if we do the little things.”

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.