Sano in good spirits after return to camp

Twins slugger begins rehab after clean-up on lingering lower leg injury

March 13th, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- says he kept himself busy during his six-night stay at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., by watching whatever cartoons his son watched.

With the laceration to his right lower Achilles area properly cleaned and sutured up, Sanó arrived back in Twins camp on Wednesday to begin the long road back from the injury that wasn't even painful at first but has evolved into a months-long saga that will keep him sidelined for Opening Day and out of Major League action until May.

"I didn't think it was going to become such a deal," Sanó said. "I thought it was going to be good right away, but it became a big deal, and now I'm done with it. I'm thankful that the team has taken care of me, and I want to be 100 percent."

Sanó returned to camp with a boot-like contraption called a multi-podus system on his right foot and lower leg. It will position the joint to take tissue stress off the injury site to ensure it heals properly.

Head athletic trainer Tony Leo said that Sanó is expected to begin a rehab phase next Friday before the boot and the five sutures on the wound are removed by March 29. At that point, he will be able to begin fully conditioning his lower half and start baseball activities, including hitting, fielding and running.

Sanó will continue working with the team in Fort Myers and will make the trip north to Minneapolis for Opening Day.

"It feels good to be back. I belong here," Sanó said. "This is my family. These are my teammates. I'm just happy to be back."

Coming off an offseason of renewed focus on his conditioning, the 25-year-old third baseman is obviously frustrated by the setback after arriving for Spring Training in noticeably better physical shape. He'll continue to work on his upper body with Leo and strength and conditioning coordinator Ian Kadish while he's sidelined, and he's confident that he can have the turnaround campaign that he has hoped for, even in a shortened season.

"I'll probably miss the start with the team, but that doesn't matter," Sanó said. "Four months of the season, I can help this team. I believe."

There's precedent for that, too -- when Sanó's setback was announced last week, Twins leadership noted that Joe Mauer missed the first month of the 2009 season with a back injury before returning on May 1 to hit .365/.444/.587 with 28 homers en route to the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

"He was talking about that this morning," chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said at the time. "Let's sign up for that return."

In the meantime, the Twins are equipped to weather the first month of the season without their starting third baseman, with expected to slot in at the hot corner and and also able to back up the versatile veteran.

Sanó will have to wait a little longer to start exorcising the demons of last year. He's just trying to stay positive until then.

"It's easy to be frustrated," Sanó said. "But after going through all these processes and coming here today and seeing everyone, I just want to move forward and think positive about it. It's a long season."