FORT MYERS, Fla. — Aaron Hicks and Chris Colabello both homered but Kevin Correia and Vance Worley each gave up four runs in an 8-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon at Hammond Stadium.
Hicks, who had been dealing with a sore right shoulder, made an immediate impact, as he homered in his first at-bat since March 4 with a pinch-hit solo blast off lefty Adam Wilk in the fifth inning.
What went right: Hicks couldn’t have scripted a better return to action, as the homer also came on his first swing on a 1-0 fastball from Wilk.
Hicks, who hit the homer from the right side, also laced a line drive to first base in his next at-bat while batting left-handed but it was caught by Chris McGuiness.
Colabello also continued his hot start to Spring Training with a two-run shot off right-hander Jake Brigham. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire commented after the game that Colabello, who is hitting .467 this spring, has been the club’s best hitter in Grapefruit League play.
Joe Mauer also went 2-for-2 with a walk, while Trevor Plouffe went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Josmil Pinto also went 1-for-2 with a walk and is now batting .444 this spring.
Right-hander Deolis Guerra turned in a third straight scoreless appearance, and struck out one. Gardenhire said he’s been impressed by Guerra’s changeup this spring, as it’s been getting a lot of swings and misses.
What went wrong: Correia had his first rough start of the spring, giving up four runs on seven hits over three innings.
He gave up a two-run blast to his former teammate Pedro Alvarez but said after the game that he wouldn’t have given a fastball to Alvarez with a runner on second and two outs during the regular season.
Worley also pitched better than his line indicated, as he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.
He was also done in by a two-run blast — this one from Travis Ishikawa — but said it came on a changeup, which is his fourth-best pitch and one he was trying to work on during Wednesday’s outing. Gardenhire actually liked what he saw from Worley, who was otherwise effective and kept the ball down with a fastball that was hitting 93 mph.
Alex Presley and Josh Willingham both continued their slow starts to the spring, as they both went 0-for-2. Presley is now hitting .190, while Willingham is batting .067. Jason Bartlett also went 0-for-3 and doesn’t have a hit in 17 at-bats this spring.
What they said: “It felt good to be able to make solid contact after being out for a while. It felt good to get a good pitch to hit. Everything feels good.” — Hicks on homering in his first at-bat since March 4.
What’s next: Right-hander Phil Hughes is slated to make his third Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday against the Red Sox in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Hammond Stadium. Hughes, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins this offseason, has a 1.59 ERA this spring. Right-hander Samuel Deduno is also scheduled to pitch for the Twins.
Injury update: Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix removed on Feb. 19, is getting closer to returning to game action. He could play in Minor League games as early as this weekend, according to assistant general manager Rob Antony.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Jason Kubel hit his first homer of the spring but it was all the offense the Twins could muster in a 7-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday at Charlotte Sports Park.
Right-hander Ricky Nolasco also made his second Grapefruit League start for the Twins (5-5-1), giving up two runs on four hits over four innings.
What went right: Kubel entered the game just 1-for-14 this spring but homered in his first at-bat against Rays left-hander David Price.
It was a positive sign for Kubel, who still has a strong shot to make the roster as a designated hitter/outfielder despite his slow start to the spring.
Wilkin Ramirez, Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar had the other three hits for the Twins, who managed just four on the afternoon.
Nolasco was mostly solid, coming off Thursday’s simulated game after his scheduled start on Thursday’s was rained out. But he did give up an RBI double to Yunel Escobar and an RBI single to David DeJesus in the second inning.
What went wrong: Left-hander Scott Diamond gave up two runs on four hits and a walk over two innings, and now has a 6.00 ERA in three appearances this spring.
Diamond, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, hasn’t been helping himself with his recent outings. But he wasn’t hit hard on Tuesday, as none of the hits were for extra-bases and the runs scored on a sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout.
So Diamond still remains in the mix for that final spot in the rotation but needs to put together some solid outings as the Twins get closer to the end of spring.
Right-hander Ryan Pressly, who was solid as a Rule 5 Draft pick last year, gave up two runs in his one inning of work and has an 8.31 ERA in 4 1/3 innings this spring. The two runs came on a homer from Jeremy Moore in the seventh inning but Pressly settled down after the homer to strike out the next two batters
Left-hander Caleb Thielbar also gave up a run in the eighth on an RBI double from Curt Casali.
What they said: “It felt good to finally hit one hard. The results aren’t there but I feel like over the last few games, my last four or five at-bats are feeling pretty good. So if it keeps getting better each day before the season starts, I’ll be right where I want to be.” — Kubel on his first home run of the spring.
What’s next: Right-hander Kevin Correia is set to make his second Grapefruit League appearance on Wednesday against the Pirates in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Hammond Stadium. Correia has been sharp so far in spring, and has also made appearances in an intrasquad game and a B’ game. Right-hander Gerrit Cole is slated to start for Pittsburgh.
Injury update: Outfielder Aaron Hicks, who has been feeling discomfort in his right elbow while swinging the bat, is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. … Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who has been dealing with what he think is food poisoning, is also expected to play Wednesday. … Reliever Matt Guerrier, who surgery in mid-August to repair the flexor mass in his right elbow, tossed a scoreless inning in his spring debut in a Minor League intrasquad game.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Right-handers Mike Pelfrey and Samuel Deduno combined to allow just one hit over six scoreless innings against the Phillies but the game ended in a 1-1 tie on Sunday at Hammond Stadium.
Joe Mauer had the lone RBI for the Twins with a one-out RBI single in the first inning to score Darin Mastroianni. The Phillies, who made the trip from Clearwater, decided against going to extra innings after the game remained tied after nine innings.
What went right: Pelfrey turned in his best outing of the spring, as he tossed three hitless innings.
He threw 35 pitches with 20 going for strikes, including one strikeout, but did walk two batters in his third start of the spring.
Deduno was also solid, giving up just one hit and a walk over three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He’s making a serious case to be the club’s fifth starter, as he now has a 1.35 ERA in three outings and was effective last season with a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts.
It’s still too early in spring for Deduno to claim the fifth starter spot but he does appear to be the frontrunner over Vance Worley, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson.
Gibson also pitched Sunday, giving up one unearned run on one hit with one walk. He pitched during the eighth inning, which featured two plays that were looked at by replay but were ultimately left unchanged.
The lone run the Phillies scored came on a close play at the plate but there wasn’t good enough video quality for the umpires to overturn the call even though Twins director of Major League video Sean Harlin urged the Twins to ask for a replay, as he was 99 percent positive John Mayberry was out at the plate.
Reliever Michael Tonkin also made another big impression on the coaching staff, throwing a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts.
On the offensive side, Mauer went 1-for-3 with an RBI single while Deibinson Romero went 2-for-3 with a triple.
What went wrong: The Twins didn’t manage to do much offensively, as they only had seven hits and didn’t score after the first inning.
They also had two runners caught stealing, including Alex Presley, who over-slid the bag at second base in the eighth inning, and Jermaine Mitchell, who was thrown out in the ninth after getting a bad jump.
The Twins also had a few sloppy plays in the field, with shortstop Danny Santana making an error in the seventh inning, and third baseman Brandon Waring making a throwing error in the eighth. Waring’s errant throw led to the one run surrendered by the Twins.
What they said: “Coming out of the ‘pen, whatever, I like the guy and would like him on my staff. I would love to have this guy on my staff because he has great makeup and he can help us win baseball games. One way or another, he can help us, starting or relieving.” — Gardenhire on Deduno’s chances of making the roster as a starter or reliever.
What’s next: The Twins have their first and only off-day of the spring on Monday before heading to Port Charlotte on Tuesday to face the Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco is slated to make his second Grapefruit League start after his last scheduled start was washed away due to rain.
Injury update: Outfielder Aaron Hicks, who has been feeling discomfort in his right elbow while swinging the bat, is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday. … Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who has been dealing with flu-like symptoms, is also on the list to travel on Tuesday but felt sick again during workouts on Sunday. … Reliever Matt Guerrier, who surgery in mid-August to repair the flexor mass in his right elbow, is expected to make his spring debut on Tuesday but it could come on the Minor League side.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Top prospects Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer were among the 16 players sent to Minor League camp on Sunday in the first round of roster cuts before the Twins’ game against the Phillies at Hammond Stadium.
Buxton and Meyer, who are both not on the 40-man roster, were reassigned to Minor League camp along with right-handers Lester Oliveros and Yohan Pino; catchers Kyle Knudson, Matt Koch and Stuart Turner; outfielder Chris Rahl and infielder Miguel Sano, who is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in New York.
Seven players on the 40-man roster were also optioned, including right-hander Trevor May and left-handers Logan Darnell, Edgar Ibarra and Brooks Raley to Triple-A Rochester. First baseman Kennys Vargas was optioned to Double-A New Britain, while infielder Jorge Polanco and outfielder Max Kepler were optioned to Class A Advanced Fort Myers.
Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, hit .158 (3-for-19) with a homer, a double and two RBIs in seven games in his first extended stint in Grapefruit League play. Buxton, 20, hit his first homer on Saturday on a solo blast off Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchinson.
Meyer, who is ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect by MLB.com, made one appearance in Grapefruit League play, giving up one run on four hits with one strikeout in two innings. The 24-year-old also threw a scoreless inning in Friday’s B game against the Pirates.
Sending Sano to Minor League camp was more of a formality, as he’s scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday with Dr. David Altchek set to perform the operation. Sano is ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, and could see time as a designated hitter late in the Minor League season if all goes well with his surgery.
BRADENTON, Fla. — Chris Colabello had an impressive day at the plate on Friday, as he picked up three hits, including the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth to lead the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Pirates at McKechnie Field.
Right-hander Vance Worley started for the Twins (5-3) but gave up five runs on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings.
What went right: Colabello started the game on the bench but ended up going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, including an RBI single off left-hander Brandon Mann in the ninth.
After going 3-for-3 on Friday, he’s now hitting .455/.625/.636 with two doubles and five walks in six games. He’s putting himself in the mix for a bench spot as a backup first baseman and right-handed hitting designated hitter.
Second baseman Jorge Polanco also saw action in both the B game at Pittsburgh’s Minor League complex and in the Grapefruit League game and impressed in both. He showed off solid defense at second, while providing an RBI double in the B game and going 1-for-2 with a run in the A game.
Brandon Waring, Danny Santana and Wilkin Ramirez also had RBI singles for the Twins, who scored all six of their runs in the final three innings.
The relievers also all fared well with Kris Johnson throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Sean Gilmartin throwing two scoreless frames. Ryan Pressly, Matt Hoffman, Aaron Thompson and Brooks Raley each threw a scoreless inning.
What went wrong: Worley had trouble locating, as he kept falling behind in counts and ended up giving up seven hits, including a double and a homer to Andrew McCutchen.
Worley wasn’t helped by a few infield singles, and said he was affected by the wind at McKechnie Stadium, but did give up those big hits to McCutchen, who was the winner of the NL MVP Award last season.
It’s still early in camp and it was just one subpar outing but it wasn’t a good showing from Worley, who is out of Minor League options and is trying to make the club as the fifth starter.
Top prospect Byron Buxton also went 0-for-3 in the B game and 0-for-2 in the A game, and is just 2-for-14 in Grapefruit League play. But Buxton, who is regarded as the top prospect in baseball, is still gaining invaluable experience despite his early struggles.
What they said: “At this point, it’s out of my control,” Worley said. “It’s going to be who the best is this spring, and that’s who it’s going to go to. I’m just worrying about getting outs and staying healthy.” — Worley on competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.
What’s next: The Twins hit the road for a second straight day on Saturday, making the trip north to play the Blue Jays at 12:05 p.m. CT in Dunedin. Right-hander Phil Hughes, who joined the club on a three-year, $24 million deal this offseason, is set to make his second Grapefruit League start.
Injury update: Outfielder Aaron Hicks didn’t make the trip to Bradenton after feeling discomfort in his right elbow while swinging in the cage on Thursday morning. But Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Hicks is fine and is expected to return to action soon.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins were hit hard by the Orioles, as they were done in by a pair of five-run innings in an 11-5 loss on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.
Right-hander Mike Pelfrey couldn’t get through three frames, as he lasted 2 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on four hits.
What went right: The Twins scored three runs in the second inning against Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who is expected to be Baltimore’s Opening Day starter.
But the Twins were helped by an error by right fielder Xavier Paul, who dropped a flyball, which allowed Josh Willingham to reach third base. Trevor Plouffe, Kurt Suzuki and Alex Presley each had RBI singles after error.
Minnesota didn’t score again until the seventh, when Eduardo Escobar laced an RBI triple and scored on a sacrifice fly from Kennys Vargas.
Reliever Michael Tonkin tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts, helping the case for the hard-throwing right-hander to make the club out of camp.
What went wrong: Pelfrey got through the first two innings with relative ease but struggled in the third inning.
He was chased after an RBI double from Quintin Berry with one out in the third, and was removed in favor of reliever Jared Burton. Burton fared even worse, allowing an RBI single to Paul before serving up a three-run blast to Johnny Monell.
Closer Glen Perkins loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, and gave up a run on an RBI groundout from Jemile Weeks. Perkins also forgot to cover first base on a grounder hit to Joe Mauer, who looked to throw to second but decided to go to first base, only to see Perkins wasn’t there.
Left-hander Scott Diamond, who is competing for the final spot in the rotation, didn’t help his case but was also hurt by a run-scoring throwing error by second baseman Jorge Polanco. Diamond ended up giving up five runs (one earned) on four hits over two innings.
What they said: “The biggest thing tonight was I didn’t throw enough strikes. I was kind of all over the place. But it’s still early. And physically, I felt good.” — Pelfrey on his outing.
What’s next: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco is set to make his second Grapefruit League start for the Twins on Thursday, when they host the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT. Nolasco threw two scoreless innings in his debut against the Rays on Sunday. Right-hander Adam Wainwright is slated to start for St. Louis.
Injury update: Shortstop Pedro Florimon has progressed to taking groundballs, as he took grounders with his teammates before the game. He wasn’t throwing across the diamond but was throwing home without any issues.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins displayed plenty of offense on Monday, as they scored a combined 21 runs in their two wins in split-squad action against the Blue Jays and Orioles.
In their game against Toronto at Hammond Stadium, Kevin Correia tossed three hitless innings and Jermaine Mitchell homered and drove in four runs in a 12-2 win. Meanwhile, over in Sarasota, right-hander Vance Worley threw three scoreless frames and Wilkin Ramirez homered and had four RBIs in a 9-2 victory.
What went right: Correia was solid, as he walked just one batter and didn’t allow a hit over three scoreless innings.
It was the second straight strong outing from Correia early in spring, as he also didn’t allow a hit in two innings in Thursday’s intrasquad game.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson was also sharp, throwing three scoreless innings and both hits he gave up came on bloop singles. Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said it was the best he’s seen Gibson look all spring.
Mitchell, who is a non-roster invitee, had a game offensively, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs and a solo home run. Brian Dozier also went 2-for-3 with two doubles. Oswaldo Arcia showed patience, as he walked two times, while Deibinson Romero also walked twice.
Reliever Casey Fien also bounced back from giving up a homer in his last appearance, as he struck out one in a scoreless inning.
Over in Sarasota, Worley fared well, as he threw three scoreless innings against Baltimore. Sean Gilmartin, Lester Oliveros and Logan Darnell also each threw a scoreless inning against the Orioles.
Prospect Max Kepler gave the Twins the lead in the ninth with an RBI single before Ramirez launched a three-run homer. Shortstop Danny Santana also hit two triples and had three RBIs. Top prospect Byron Buxton hit a ground-rule double for his first extra-base hit this spring.
What went wrong: Not much, considering the Twins scored a combined 21 runs and gave up a total of just four runs in their two wins.
Left-hander Brian Duensing served up a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion in their 12-2 win, but it was the only runs the Blue Jays would score.
Minnesota went just 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position against Toronto but it’s just nitpicking, as the Twins still scored 12 runs.
Over at Ed Smith Stadium, right-hander Trevor May gave up one run on thre hits over two innings while left-hander Aaron Thompson gave up one run on two hits in one inning of work. Thompson also made a fielding error.
What they said: “”The whole concept of this is, we want to get it right,” Steinbach said. “So as long as we can keep the pace, and it doesn’t slow it way down, I think it’s something that’s here and we’re going to make it work.” — Twins bench coach Terry Steinbach on expanded instant replay, which was used twice on Monday.
What’s next: The Twins hit the road on Tuesday, making the trip across the state to play the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Right-hander Phil Hughes, who joined the club on a three-year, $24 million deal this offseason, is set to make his Twins debut. Right-handers Samuel Deduno, Ryan Pressly and Michael Tonkin are also on the list to pitch for the Twins.
Injury update: Shortstop Pedro Florimon has progressed to hitting off a tee, and hopes to take grounders soon but said there’s no timetable for his return. He could still be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Ricky Nolasco tossed two scoreless innings in his Twins debut, and Oswaldo Arcia homered, but Anthony Swarzak gave up three runs in a 6-3 loss to the Rays on Sunday at Charlotte Sports Park.
The Twins (2-1) also saw a long home run from non-roster invitee Brandon Waring off the Tiki bar in left-center field but were done in by a two-run homer from Evan Longoria and a solo shot from Jerry Sands.
What went right: Nolasco was mostly solid in his debut, and pounded the strike zone with 16 of his 22 pitches going for strikes. He did give up two hard-hit doubles but was able to get of both innings without any damage.
Arcia also launched a solo shot in the fifth inning off left-hander Adam Liberatore after he was buzzed by two inside fastballs from Liberatore. It was an interesting at-bat for Arcia, who clearly won that battle after being brushed off the plate twice.
Waring also showed off impressive power with his mammoth blast off Santiago Garrido. Waring hit 25 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last year but also hit just .214 with a .317 on-base percentage.
Second base prospect Jorge Polanco came through with an RBI single in the ninth inning to score fellow top prospect Max Kepler.
What went wrong: Swarzak struggled in the third inning, giving up three runs on three hits with all three runs coming with two outs.
David DeJesus brought home the first run on a single to right field that allowed Desmond Jennings to score on a throwing error from Arcia in right field. Longoria then followed up with a two-run homer to left field off Swarzak.
Left-hander Brooks Raley fared well for two innings but did serve up a solo shot to Sands in the sixth.
Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer hit as high as 98 mph on the radar gun but only mixed in two curveballs and one changeup in his two innings of work so he wasn’t fooling Rays hitters. Meyer, ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect by MLB.com, ended up giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits with a strikeout. His second run was keyed by an inning-opening error from Waring at third base.
The Twins also went just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving seven runners on base.
What they said: “He killed that ball. He hit that ball a long ways. He hit it right to the Tiki Hut. That’s where I wanted to be all day.” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on Waring’s home run.
What’s next: The Twins have split-squad action for the first time this spring on Monday, as they host the Blue Jays at Hammond Stadium and travel to Sarasota to play the Orioles. Right-hander Kevin Correia will make the start against Toronto, and will be followed by right-hander Kyle Gibson and left-handers Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar. Right-hander Vance Worley will start vs. Baltimore, and will be followed by right-hander Trevor May and left-hander Sean Gilmartin.
Injury update: The Twins still haven’t set a date for Tommy John surgery for top prospect Miguel Sano but it’s likely to be performed by Dr. David Altchek, according to Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. Antony also didn’t rule out Sano serving as a DH late in the year or playing in the Arizona Fall League or Dominican Winter League. … Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix taken out on Feb. 17, could start baseball activities this week, Antony said. Florimon, though, could still start the season on the 15-day disabled list.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Chris Parmelee hit a three-run homer and Brian Dozier added two hits to help lead the Twins to a 6-2 win over the Red Sox on Saturday in front of a record crowd at renovated Hammond Stadium.
The Twins (2-0) scored three runs in the first inning against Red Sox right-hander Allen Webster before breaking the game open with Parmelee’s three-run blast in the fifth off former Twins left-hander Jose Mijares.
What went right: Dozier showed off his power he displayed last season, launching a double off the left-field wall in the first inning off Webster. Joe Mauer, making his Grapefruit League debut, followed up by bringing home Dozier with an RBI single to right field.
The Twins scored two more times in the first with Trevor Plouffe drawing a bases loaded walk before Kennys Vargas added a sacrifice fly.
But Parmelee had the biggest hit of the afternoon, launching a three-run blast off Mijares in the fifth inning that landed deep into the new drink rail seats in right field.
Josmil Pinto also proved that his back is healthy, as he caught without any issues and roped a double down the left-field line in the fifth. Josh Willingham and Eduardo Escobar also both doubled for the Twins.
Closer Glen Perkins also threw a scoreless fourth inning in his Grapefruit League debut. Fellow relievers Michael Tonkin, Jared Burton, Matt Hoffman, Deolis Guerra and Kris Johnson also each threw a scoreless frame.
Center fielder Aaron Hicks also showed off his impressive arm, getting an outfield assist in the second inning, when Garin Cecchini tried to stretch a single into a double.
What went wrong: Left-hander Scott Diamond was mostly solid in his two innings of work but did give up a solo homer to Daniel Nava in the first inning.
Diamond struggled with the long ball last season, giving up 21 in 131 innings. But Diamond did fare well once he got hitters down 0-2, as he retired all four hitters who reached that count with two strikeouts.
Right-hander Ryan Pressly gave up a run in the third inning on a single from Jonathan Herrera after Brock Holt singled and stole second base. But Pressly showed good velocity his first time out and did strike out Grady Sizemore looking.
What they said: “It was a nice little ballgame again. [Pitching coach Rick Anderson] and I were talking and pitching wasn’t as sharp as yesterday. There were a few guys that were sharp but we were up in the zone quite a bit. So that was just one of those days. It was our first day at home so our guys might’ve been overthrowing a bit.” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
What’s next: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco is set to make his Twins debut against the Rays in Port Charlotte on Sunday at 12:05 p.m. CT. Nolasco joined the club this offseason on a four-year, $49 million deal. Right-hander Alex Cobb is set to start for the Rays in the first meeting between the two teams this spring at Charlotte Sports Park.
Injury update: The biggest news at Twins camp on Saturday was that third baseman Miguel Sano will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. It’s an unfortunate setback for Sano, who will need eight months of rehab.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Top prospect Miguel Sano will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will miss the entire 2014 season, the Twins confirmed Saturday.
Sano felt something in his right elbow while making a throw in Thursday’s intrasquad game, and an MRI exam on Friday revealed a high-grade partial tear of his UCL. After consulting with team doctors, it was determined that the third baseman needed Tommy John surgery.
Sano, ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, will miss the rest of the season, according to Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. The timetable for position players having Tommy John surgery is eight months instead of the usual 12 months for a pitcher.
“We believe the right thing is to go ahead with the surgery,” Antony said. “I still need to confer with his agent to get all the logistics regarding that but basically from everything I’ve gathered from our doctors and trainers, it’s an eight-month process from start to finish. He’ll hopefully be doing some hitting things four months after the surgery. We hope to have the surgery sometime within in the next month. He’ll have plenty of time to get ready for next year’s Spring Training.”
Sano, 20, said he’s scheduled to fly back to the Twin Cities and have the surgery next week but Antony said it still hasn’t been decided where or when Sano will undergo the operation.
Sano, who had a chance to make his big league debut this year, was disappointed about missing the season but was confident that the injury won’t hamper his career.
“When I come back, I’m the same player,” Sano said.
Sano was originally diagnosed with a strained UCL this offseason after playing in just two games in his native Dominican Republic in the Dominican Winter League. But after consulting with Twins doctors and Dr. James Andrews, it was determined Sano needed only rest and rehabilitation instead of surgery.
Antony explained that if Sano had the surgery in November, he would’ve missed most of the Minor League season, so the Twins were hoping he’d be able to play the whole season after rehabbing this offseason. He added that Sano didn’t reinjure his elbow, as the MRI results were the same from November, but that it just didn’t get any better.
“He might’ve been ready at the tail end of the regular season but if you can avoid surgery, any time you have that chance, he might not have missed any of the season,” Antony said. “So do you want to be back for the last month of the season or possibly play the entire season? It was our doctors and Dr. Andrews who agreed that it was the right course of action. So we don’t have any regrets on how it was handled.”
Sano, who hit a combined .280/.382/.610 with 35 homers, 30 doubles and 103 RBIs in 123 games split between Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain last season, was cleared to throw at the start of Spring Training, and didn’t have any issues until Thursday’s intrasquad game.
The Twins were hopeful that it was just normal soreness or inflammation but the MRI exam on Friday confirmed their worst fear that the top prospect needs season-ending surgery.
“It’s disappointing for the organization but more disappointing for the player,” Antony said. “He’s a 20-year-old who is arguably one of the top five prospects in the game. Everybody has to deal with adversity in their career so this is a slight setback for him. But hopefully he can get this taken care of and come back strong and he’ll be back in big league camp next year at 21.”