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Sano named AL Rookie of the Month

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins third baseman/designated hitter Miguel Sano has been named the American League Rookie of the Month after leading all AL rookies in runs, home runs, RBIs and walks in August.

"It's great to be Rookie of the Month, but I want Rookie of the Year," Sano said with a laugh.

He hit .278 (27-for-97) with 18 runs scored, seven doubles, nine home runs and 26 RBIs over 27 games in the month. It is his first career monthly award, and he's the first Twins player to win Rookie of the Month honors since outfielder Ben Revere in June 2011.

"I think it's nice for our organization to have a young player come up and kind of gather the attention that he is, both here locally and even [in] the national media, and rightfully so," manager Paul Molitor said. "He's been an impact player at an important juncture of the season, and he's handled it well."

Sano continued his hot August into September, recording a three-hit game with a home run in Tuesday's victory. But he was noticeably slow on the base paths, dealing with a sore hamstring.

Sano had an MRI exam on his hamstring Wednesday and said it felt "bad" after running the bases. General manager Terry Ryan said the MRI revealed a mild strain, but Sano was in the lineup against the White Sox and vowed that that's where he would remain.

"I'm in the lineup," Sano said. "The whole year."

But Molitor is going to be cautious with Sano, whom the Twins will need down the stretch. Molitor gave Sano a day off on Friday, before re-inserting him in the lineup the next day.

"We talked last night after [the game] about what he feels he's capable of doing in certain situations, and if it's going to be that, I'm still going to take the at-bats," Molitor said. "If that's all we're going to get out of him on the bases, we'll take it, to let him get his swings in. I'm hoping it improves. I think when you're out there playing every day, it's tough to get better, and that's the hard part."

Either way, the hamstring doesn't seem to be affecting Sano's swing. He went deep in six of his final 12 games of the month, recording homers in back-to-back games Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 23-25.

Sano had the first multihomer game of his career on Aug. 12 against the Rangers, when he went 3-for-3 with two runs, two home runs and six RBIs. The six-RBI performance tied a Twins single-game rookie record. (Tony Oliva in 1964 and Oswaldo Arcia in 2013 also did so).

Over the past 10 games entering Wednesday, Sano hit .333 (13-for-39) with five home runs and 12 RBIs.

Entering, Wednesday, the Dominican Republic native led AL rookies this year in on-base percentage (.403) and slugging percentage (.608). Among right-handed hitters in their age-22 season, only Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio (.673 in 1937) and Jimmie Foxx (.637 in '30) posted a higher slugging percentage.

Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for
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