Twins remain cautious as Sano nears rehab stint

June 21st, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are aiming to have outfielder Miguel Sano begin his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester no later than Friday, following a "really good" full-speed workout during Minnesota's off-day on Monday, according to manager Paul Molitor.
"He's hungry to get out and play," Molitor said. "I think between the diagnosis and our concern about making sure this is something that doesn't get repeated, we're proceeding cautiously."
The coaching staff hasn't yet set a complete schedule for Sano's rehab in Rochester and his eventual return to the Twins. Sano had already been swinging a bat for several days, but Molitor had always been more concerned about the 23-year-old's ability to run at full speed following a left hamstring strain sustained May 31 in Oakland.
"[Sano's] youthful exuberance -- you want to get out there and sometimes you think your judgment is right on, but the people that have a little more experience with these kinds of things are going to slow down some of that and make sure," Molitor said.
Molitor was noncommittal when asked whether Sano would continue to play in the outfield upon his return. He admitted that part of his hesitation stemmed from the fact that Sano's injury was to his hamstring as opposed to some other area less critical to outfield defense.
"I think that's a fair question, and in all honesty, we've been having discussions on how we want to integrate him back into his games on rehab as well as up here," Molitor said. "It's not finalized yet."
Considering Danny Santana's recent return from injury, the Twins' desire to get Byron Buxton and Max Kepler consistent starts against Major League pitching and Robbie Grossman's continued hot hitting, Minnesota's coaching staff is still trying to figure out how all of the pieces will fit together in the outfield upon Sano's eventual return.
"We have these parts here, and we're trying to figure out how they fit the best, including some other young outfielders that are doing fairly well," Molitor said.
Molitor hopes that Sano will be able to mix starts at both DH and in the field at Rochester, though he hasn't yet formulated a specific positional plan for the rehab assignment.
Sano had been hitting .235/.341/.458 with 11 home runs and a team-leading 27 RBIs before his injury.
Worth noting
• Relief pitcher Trevor May, who was placed on the disabled list on June 10 with lower back spasms, threw a successful bullpen session Tuesday and is tentatively scheduled to throw another Friday.
• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who was sent to Rochester for his rehab assignment on June 17, felt discomfort while taking pregame swings and hasn't yet recorded a Minor League at-bat as he works his way back from a left oblique strain for which he was placed on the disabled list on May 25. He has missed 27 games as a result of the injury.