SEATTLE - Miguel Sano is back in uniform, but not at third base. He didn’t sound particularly antsy to reclaim his normal position, filled by Eduardo Escobar during Sano’s monthlong absence.
“Escobar is playing great defense right now, and he needs to play too,” Sano said before going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Twins' 2-1 loss to Seattle — his first game since April 27, when a he suffered a hamstring strain. “I’m comfortable at first base. I love it, I love it. I just feel good because they give me the opportunity.”
Sano’s return just adds to the juggling that Molitor must do at the corner infield spots. With Joe Mauer (cervical strain) on the disabled list, the Twins can split first base duties between the righthanded-hitting Sano and the lefthanded-hitting Logan Morrison, putting the other player at designated hitter.
“I don’t have any set plans in how it’s going to go, but he can handle the position at least adequately. I know he can catch a grounder, I know he’s got pretty good footwork around the bag,” Molitor said. “He likes new challenges. He gets motivated by doing something a little bit different.”
Sano said his first few at-bats during his rehab stay at Class AAA were “pretty bad,” but four days later, “I was hitting the ball hard and feeling really good. … I’m ready to go.”