Sano tests left shin injury with 60 swings

Still no timetable when slugger could return to lineup

September 27th, 2017

CLEVELAND -- Twins third baseman , who has been out since Aug. 19 with a stress reaction to his left shin, saw two specialists who confirmed the original diagnosis and cleared him to return to taking swings.

Sano visited orthopedists Dr. Martin O'Malley in New York and Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, and both confirmed his injury hasn't worsened to a stress fracture. Sano took 60 swings on Wednesday at Target Field, his first time hitting in roughly 10 days, and the Twins are hopeful he'll do the same on Thursday.

There's no timetable for his return, but Sano also hasn't officially been ruled out of a potential American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday.

"He's in the same spot and the diagnosis is still the same," said Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. "The steps in the short-term are going to be centered around him hitting. He took 60 swings today in Minnesota and felt pretty good. Some soreness, but he's in a better spot now."

Falvey was asked if Sano could be active on a potential AL Wild Card roster just for a late pinch-hitting opportunity, a la Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series, and he was non-committal.

"Can I take that outcome?" Falvey joked. "We haven't got into that level of conversation, but at this point we haven't ruled anything out."

It's still unlikely Sano would be active as he hasn't faced live pitching since the injury and hasn't resumed running yet. There remains a chance he could return for a potential AL Division Series presented by Doosan should the Twins advance that far.

"We're trying to get him to the point where he's at full baseball activities and then we can make a decision as to whether or not he can be the member of something going forward," Falvey said. "Putting an actual date or timetable is challenging. We'll take it day to day. The fact he took 60 swings today and felt normal, we're hoping tomorrow he can take another set of swings."

Worth noting

• Twins manager Paul Molitor said right-hander will start Thursday even if the club were to clinch a postseason berth on Wednesday They want him to be lined up to start on regular rest for the AL Wild Card Game on Tuesday if needed. But the rest of the rotation could be shuffled over the weekend against the Tigers if the Twins have already clinched.

• Second baseman became the first Twins player to ever score 100 runs in four straight seasons, breaking Chuck Knoblauch's club record of three straight years from 1995-97. It's the longest active streak in baseball, but could reach that mark if he scores 10 runs over the next five games.