Twins send struggling Sano to Class A

June 14th, 2018

DETROIT -- , an All-Star and a Home Run Derby participant a year ago, was optioned to the Minors following the Twins' 3-1 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday. Sano will go to Class A Advanced Fort Myers, where the team's Spring Training facility is located.
Additionally, Minnesota optioned outfielder Jake Cave to Triple-A Rochester. The moves come in preparation for the return of Joe Mauer, who will rejoin the team on Friday for the Twins' series opener against the Indians in Cleveland. Mauer has been out since May 18 with a neck strain and concussion-like symptoms. Minnesota will also make another move Friday to fill the second open spot on the roster.
The third baseman has struggled at the plate this season, especially since returning from a strained left hamstring that kept him out for most of May. The 25-year-old is hitting .203 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in 37 games, along with 66 strikeouts compared to just 14 walks.
"We don't feel right now that we're getting what we need to from him," Twins manager Paul Molitor said after the game. "He's going to have to go down there and get to work."
Sano's weight was an issue at the beginning of the season after offseason surgery to reinforce his left shin that was injured in August.
"He got behind this winter, and it's been kind of an uphill battle," Molitor said. "We're going to work on his performance in baseball and his swing, just bring him along. We're going to listen to him. We're going to stay in touch. We're going to be supportive, because we know that we need him long term."
Sano said going to Fort Myers will also allow him to get the timing back in his swing in a lower-pressure environment, while working alongside the Twins' coaching staff.
"I'm not mad. I'm happy, because I know I'm struggling, and [Molitor] gave me an opportunity," Sano said. "There's no reason I can get mad."
"He needs to be the guy we think he can be," Molitor said. "He's not there right now. We have to take a step backwards here and determine the steps moving forward. But we like our coaches and facility there with a lot of things we can control more there."
Sano made the American League All-Star team for the first time last season, and he hit .264 with 28 home runs and 77 RBIs in 114 games. He also hit 25 homers in 2016 and 18 as a rookie in '15, when he finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting.