Sano's recovery coming along slowly

Third baseman still wearing protective boot over lacerated right heel

March 1st, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Miguel Sano won't be able to begin baseball activities this week as the Twins had hoped, after an evaluation of the laceration to his right heel area on Wednesday didn't show enough progress for Sano to remove the protective boot on his right foot. He will be evaluated again next week.

"Yeah, it's a little frustrating, I would say," Sano said. "Because I worked really hard in the offseason to get to Spring Training in shape and ready to go, and now this happened. But it's just a setback and we'll get it going next week."

If Sano were to progress to baseball activity next week and return to the field soon thereafter, it would leave him around three weeks -- or maybe less -- of Spring Training games to acclimate to the batter's box before the start of the regular season. Manager Rocco Baldelli didn't have a firm answer on how extensive Sano's preparation for Opening Day could be.

"There’s no way to say for sure," Baldelli said before Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. "As we sit here right now, I can’t say exactly what number of at-bats Miguel is going to get."

Both Sano and head athletic trainer Tony Leo characterized the wound, which originally required 12 stitches, as "80 percent" healed. Because of the area it is in, the Twins would like to wait for the injury to be fully healed before they let Sano do any hitting, running or fielding, especially since they don't want it to affect his mechanics.

Sano began wearing the boot on his right foot to protect the wound last Tuesday, and was originally expected to wear it for 7-10 days. He has been limited to core and upper body workouts during that time.

"It’s definitely something where we were hoping to have him back sooner than later," Baldelli said. "But we’re just going to stick with the plan."

Sano sustained the injury during the parade celebrating his Dominican Winter League championship with his hometown team, Estrellas Orientales. A teammate slipped on a substance on the stage and bumped into Sano, who scraped his leg on metal stairs.

Gonzalez to play by Sunday

Marwin Gonzalez, who arrived in Twins camp on Monday after agreeing to a two-year, $21 million contract, is expected to see his first game action no later than Sunday, when the Twins play a pair of split-squad games against the Red Sox and Phillies.

"He came in great shape anyway, so it's not going to take very long for him to readjust," Baldelli said.

Gonzalez has been taking live batting practice at the Twins' facility to warm up for game action, as he had chosen not to face live pitching before he signed with a team. Baldelli said that Gonzalez could play earlier than Sunday, but if he doesn't suit up on Friday against the Red Sox, that would require the veteran to make the 2 1/2-hour trip across Florida to West Palm Beach on Saturday.

Up next

Right-hander Michael Pineda is scheduled to make his first start in a Twins uniform when he takes the mound on Friday against the Red Sox in a 12:05 p.m. CT matchup at Hammond Stadium. He was signed to a two-year, $10 million deal prior to last season while he recovered from Tommy John surgery, but was unable to pitch at the end of the season after tests revealed a torn meniscus in his right knee during his rehab assignment.