Sano expected out until May with lower leg injury

March 5th, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- isn't expected to make his season debut until May after the Twins decided to pursue more aggressive treatment of the laceration to his right lower Achilles area.

The Twins sought an additional opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., with Dr. Nho Tran, a plastic surgeon, after a stagnation of the healing process of Sano's wound, which was sustained in late January in the Dominican Republic. The Twins don't expect Sano to begin baseball activity until mid-April, and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said that a realistic timeline would likely put him back in the Major Leagues in May.

"He's had some really poor luck recently. He had a great winter," Falvey said. "To have this setback, it's just really unfortunate. I can understand [frustration] ... given he's dealt with a lot of setbacks here in the last couple of years. Our hope is that this is one where we just get past it and we're looking, from May on, him being what we hoped he would be this year."

“There’s not a disappointment in Miguel,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There’s more of a disappointment for him. I actually feel bad that he’s dealing with what he’s dealing with. He’s had a great winter coming into this spring. He played, he's in phenomenal shape, he’s strong and I feel for the guy that he’s dealing with this.”

Sano underwent a wound debridement procedure on Tuesday, and he's expected to remain at the Mayo Clinic for two to three days while the wound is sutured and more aggressively treated with an antiseptic wash. He will be examined again on Friday, and once he travels back to Florida, he's expected to require a week in a hard splint and will likely be in a protective boot until April.

The Twins now feel good about the cleanliness of the wound and are confident that it will heal properly.

While Sano had continued upper-body workouts with head athletic trainer Tony Leo and strength and conditioning coordinator Ian Kadish in Fort Myers, the Twins will still need to put Sano through an abbreviated Spring Training process upon his return to Florida as they don't want to rush him back into game action, which could put him at risk of soft tissue injury.

Though the Twins were aware that Sano had sustained an injury in the Dominican Republic, Falvey admitted that he was slightly surprised by the severity of the laceration when Sano arrived at Spring Training.

"Yeah, I think so," Falvey said. "A cut on the foot, a couple stitches and hoping we’ll kind of address it as we go. Unfortunately, it was a little more severe than that."

Sano first started wearing a protective boot on his right foot on Feb. 19 to keep the wound clean and facilitate the healing process.

The original plan had been for Sano to wear the boot for 7-10 days, but after a re-examination of the wound last Wednesday, the medical staff didn't feel that it had healed enough for Sano to resume baseball activity. At the time, both Sano and Leo had characterized the wound as "80 percent" healed.

Sano sustained the laceration to his right heel area during the celebration parade for his Dominican Winter League championship with his hometown team, Estrellas Orientales, in late January. A teammate had slipped and pushed Sano, who scraped his leg against metal stairs.

The multipositional will likely slot in as the Twins' regular starter at third base. Gonzalez has played 93 games at the hot corner throughout his career, including 62 starts -- his fewest appearances among the infield positions. Two of Gonzalez's three starts for the Twins this spring have come at third base.

Gonzalez temporarily moving into a starting role could help the roster chances of , and , who are competing for spots on the Twins' bench, particularly if the Twins expand to a 13-man pitching staff in mid-April, as their schedule could dictate.

Astudillo can offer some of Gonzalez's versatility in the field and has followed up his successful Major League cameo from last season with a solid spring, hitting .308 with a homer while playing primarily at catcher and third base. Adrianza, a utility infielder, is out of Minor League options.