The All-Star third baseman has been sidelined since he suffered a lower left leg injury while sliding into second base and colliding with Astros shortstop Carlos Correa in Houston on Sept. 4. Sano left that game on a cart, but X-rays on his leg were negative and Twins manager Paul Molitor said earlier this week that he is hopeful Sano will play again this year.
Sano was working out on the field early Wednesday afternoon, taking swings, fielding grounders at third and running in the outfield to test his leg. When asked which area of the leg is still giving him trouble, he motioned to the inside of his knee.
A rod was inserted into Sano's left shin this past offseason to alleviate a stress reaction in his tibia, and he has spent much of this season working to regain strength in his lower body. When he was injured in Houston, he feared the worst and thought the prognosis would be much bleaker than just the bruising and swelling that he has been working back from.
"Yeah, I thought it was broken," Sano said. "When that happened, I didn't feel my ankle and my knee. I hit the base, and [Correa] put his knee in my ankle. I hit the base -- you're supposed to stand up with that one, but I missed it."
Sano said he will travel with the team to Kansas City for its four-game set with the Royals that begins Thursday, but he is unsure if he will play in that series.
"I don't know about when he'll play," Molitor said. "Our message is just to urge him to keep doing what they're asking him to do both in here and keep getting out to the field to see where you're at physically. Another decent day in terms of ground balls and swings, and he ran a little bit. But it's just not to a point where I feel like the risk has been removed ... and also, mentally, going through that was concerning to him. You get the pain that he did on that injured leg. We're just going to bring him along slowly and hopefully each day is progressive."
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.