Sano's post-surgery progress encouraging
Twins 3rd baseman to train with former big leaguer Tatis
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins third baseman Miguel Sano has been rehabbing without any issues since his surgery on Nov. 13 to insert a titanium rod into his left shin, and he will begin training with former Major League third baseman Fernando Tatis shortly after the New Year.
Sano, who sustained a stress fracture on his left shin after hitting a foul ball off his leg on Aug. 18, rehabbed at the club's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, Fla., in December before returning home to the Dominican Republic for the holidays.
Sano trained last offseason with Tatis, whom he credited with helping him become an All-Star for the first time in his career in a breakout 2017 season. Sano, 24, hit .264/.352/.507 with 28 homers and 77 RBIs in 114 games. He missed more than a month with his shin injury before returning for the last three games of the season in an unsuccessful attempt to play in the American League Wild Card Game against the Yankees.
"I think he felt that program was very conducive to his start of the season last year," Twins general manager Thad Levine said. "I think we're very open-minded to what Fernando Tatis did with him workout-wise. That's the plan barring any sort of forks in the road here. He's progressing without incident."
Twins manager Paul Molitor said he's been in contact with Sano several times this offseason to check on his progress, and he has been encouraged by what Sano has been able to do. But there's still some concern about his ability to perform cardio exercises to stay in shape because of the nature of the surgery.
The operation is uncommon for baseball players, but Levine said basketball and football players have had the surgery without any complications.
"I think he had a little anxiety heading into it, but we're encouraged about how it went and what he's doing," Molitor said. "The unfortunate part, we're losing a fairly large portion of time for him to be able to do a lot as far as rehab and conditioning and all the things that I know he wants to do. So we're going to have a chance to be a little bit more hands-on with him as he continues to increase his rehab, and hopefully he'll be in good shape by the time we get to spring."
Sano is expected to be ready for Spring Training, but Molitor said it's a stretch to think Sano will be able to play 150 games at third base. He's expected to be rotated at designated hitter, along with Joe Mauer, Eduardo Escobar, Robbie Grossman and Kennys Vargas. It's a reason why Minnesota isn't seeking a power bat to serve as a full-time DH.
"We saw the benefits of cycling guys through that spot last year," Levine said. "We'd like to keep the DH spot a little more fluid than lock somebody into it."