MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano took batting practice on the field with the Twins for the first time this season before Saturday's 4-3 win over the Tigers, and according to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, Sano will be sent to Minnesota's facility in Fort Myers in the middle of the coming week for a conditioning program and eventual on-field experience.
Sano's program with Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator David Rak will mimic the start of Spring Training, and it is expected to take 10 days, after which Sano will be evaluated for his readiness to take the field. Falvey expects that Sano will first return to play for the Class A Advanced Fort Myers Miracle by early May, though the Twins will continue to be cautious with his recovery.
Once Sano returns to the field, the Twins will gauge his progress to determine the timetable for his eventual return to the Major Leagues. Falvey said that Sano would likely require stops at multiple Minor League affiliates during his rehab assignment.
"We want to make sure his overall condition and movement is good, because we know that if his condition and movement is good, then he can go play baseball and be unrestricted," Falvey said. "If that's not good, playing baseball's not going to help him. There's a chance he could re-injure himself, so we just want to be careful about that. So we'll just see where he's at after about a 10-day period."
Manager Rocco Baldelli had announced last Sunday that Sano had started baseball activity, and the third baseman has been running, swinging and hitting in the cages while the Twins finished their recent three-city road trip. Falvey said that Sano's foot is healed and Minnesota will now treat him as it would have had he been healthy at the start of Spring Training.
"He's let it be known that he feels great, and I think he's probably telling everyone within earshot how good he feels," Baldelli said. "I'm happy. You can tell that he's getting not just in shape, but he's in the mindset to get going, get out on the field, start playing. I think we're going to see that at some point pretty soon."
"I'm ready to do everything," Sano said. "I feel really good, my leg feels great, and as soon as they tell me I need to start doing everything, I'll start. I feel really good."
Twins to expand to five-man rotation on Monday
With the Twins' off-day-laden early schedule finally set to stabilize this homestand, Baldelli announced that Martin Perez will make his first start of the season on Monday as the Twins expand to a five-man rotation.
Perez pitched three times in a "piggyback" role out of the bullpen behind both Michael Pineda and Jake Odorizzi to begin the year due to the Twins' unconventional schedule, allowing seven earned runs in 8 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts and nine walks. The 28-year-old left-hander was signed to be a starter during the offseason, and the plan was always to move him back into the rotation at this point in the season.
"It's a little bit different than the way we originally mapped it out, but that's what we're going to go with," Baldelli said.
Other injury notes
• Matt Magill (right shoulder tendinitis) will be sent on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Rochester on Sunday.
• Gabriel Moya (left shoulder tendinitis) will be sent on a rehab assignment on either Tuesday or Wednesday, likely to Double-A Pensacola.
• Addison Reed (left thumb sprain) is working on throwing programs and continues to focus on his strength and conditioning as the injury to his thumb heals.
"I think sometimes if a guy’s down with a non-throwing arm-related injury, you can do some other things to try to put him in a good position," Falvey said. "But like any other player, you want to try to take advantage of that time in the best way possible."
• Stephen Gonsalves (left forearm strain) will continue to be shut down for several weeks, and the Twins are expected to be conservative with his recovery.