Sano's return from injury becoming less likely

September 19th, 2017

NEW YORK -- Third baseman accompanied the Twins to New York City for personal reasons, but he flew back to Minneapolis on Tuesday night to continue to rehab his left shin stress reaction at Target Field.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said there's not much new in terms of Sano's progress, which has been slow since he sustained the injury on a foul ball off his shin on Aug. 18. But with the regular season nearly over, Sano is running out of time to return, especially considering there are no Minor League games to play in and instructional league hasn't started in Florida because of Hurricane Irma.

"I don't have a date," Molitor said. "We're down to a dozen games here. My biggest concern is even if he gets to a point where I can get him on the field in any capacity, is how much of a challenge is it for him to have any type of timing at all. That's going to be hard to give away at-bats just to hope he's got it. You'd like to find the right fit on a given day if he's physically able."

The Twins have essentially ruled out any chance of Sano returning to third base this season, as he'd be limited to designated hitter duty if he returns. But the slugger has yet to run the bases as part of his rehab, and he admitted last week that running causes him soreness, and even taking batting practice causes him to be sore the next day.

As a result, there remains no timetable for Sano's return, and Molitor offered some doubt at his ability to come back before a potential American League Wild Card Game on Oct. 3. Molitor added there's also worry that if Sano does return, he could aggravate the injury, especially if his adrenaline kicks in while running the bases, which could cause his stress reaction to become a stress fracture and would lead to a lengthy offseason rehab.

"We're not to that point," Molitor said. "But sometimes emotion can overtake good judgment."

Worth noting

• Twins outfielder , a Staten Island, N.Y., native, said he had roughly 50 family members and friends at Monday's game, and he was expecting 150-200 on Tuesday. Granite said former teammates and current players from both Tottenville High School (Staten Island) and Seton Hall University (South Orange, N.J.) were expected at the game. He grew up a Yankees fan and was excited about seeing action in Monday's game, dropping down a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt against .

"It was cool," Granite said. "I had a lot of family here last night and got a lot of texts saying, 'Good job.' It was a tough situation to come into, but that's my job. I'm just glad [Molitor] was comfortable putting me in that situation, which is a good thing."

• The Twins announced postseason tickets will go on sale to the general public on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m. CT. Partial season-ticket holders became eligible to buy postseason tickets on Tuesday.