When the Minnesota Twins open a seven-game trip Thursday night in Seattle, they will have a familiar face back in the lineup.
Third baseman Miguel Sano was activated from the 10-day injured list Wednesday, and he likely will make his season debut against the Mariners.
“Physically, I feel really good,” Sano said. “My whole body, mentally and physically. It’s a beautiful year for us; the team is winning a lot. I’m here to play and help the team too.”
Sano has missed the first 42 games for the American League Central-leading Twins after sustaining a deep laceration on his heel Jan. 26 during a celebration of his Dominican team’s winter league championship when he slipped on some metal stairs.
The 26-year-old, who batted just .199 in 71 games last season while spending months in the minors to work on his conditioning, got in 10 rehabilitation games over the past two weeks before being activated. He batted .316 with two home runs and nine RBIs for three teams in the Twins’ farm system.
Sano didn’t play Wednesday in the Twins’ 8-7 victory against the Los Angeles Angels as he arrived at the ballpark in Minneapolis just an hour before game time.
“He’s probably just clamoring to get out there and play. It’s time,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s put in the work. … He’s dealt with about as difficult of a situation he could probably deal with based on everything last year and this year. I’m extremely excited to see him step on the field and be ready to go, and I think he’s even more excited than I am.”
Sano appears to be in much better shape than last season.
“I worked really hard in the offseason,” Sano said, according to MLB.com. “Last year, I didn’t work too much because I had problems with my tibia. I tried to come here to play the game, and I didn’t feel really good physically. This is a different year, and I hope everything is good for my family, for me and my team.”
Baldelli, in his first season as the Twins’ manager, is looking forward to penciling the slugger into the lineup.
“There are guys in the staff that have been waiting very patiently to see this guy out on the field,” Baldelli said. “I’ve seen him play as a young player, so I’m familiar with him as a player. He’s an ultra-talented person. He can do things that you can look around baseball, and it’s a very unique talent that other people can’t do. That makes it fun to watch Miguel Sano play.”
There’s a good chance the left-handed hitting Sano will be in the lineup Thursday against Mariners rookie right-hander Erik Swanson (1-4, 6.35 ERA), who will face the Twins for the first time.
The Twins are set to send right-hander Michael Pineda (2-3, 5.85 ERA) to the mound. Pineda is 1-1 with a 5.71 ERA in three career starts against Seattle, the team he started his career with.
The Mariners, who have dropped below .500 after their 13-2 start, had Wednesday off after sweeping a two-game series at home against Oakland.
“We went through a little skid there where we didn’t swing the bats as good as we wanted,” designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who homered in both games against the A’s, told MLB.com. “But it’s not like they went anywhere. Guys in the lineup can all hit. It’s baseball. You go through ups and downs. I think things have kind of started to turn for the better.”
–Field Level Media
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