All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list Thursday and is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Twins open a three-game series at Seattle.
Sano, who has missed 24 games because of a hamstring strain, played five games at Class AAA Rochester during his rehabilitation stint, hitting .375 with two home runs. He started at first base Wednesday — going 2-for-4 with a home run — as a tuneup in case he needs to play there because Joe Mauer is on the 10-day DL.
The Twins probably would like to give Sano more time to make sure his swing is sharp before calling him up. But with an offense that has been sputtering lately, they don’t have that luxury.
Sano can play third base, with Eduardo Escobar moving to shortstop and Ehire Adrianza coming off the bench. Sano also could share first base duties with Logan Morrison. But it would not be surprising if Sano is the designated hitter Friday, when the Twins face lefthander James Paxton.
Sano has played in 20 games for the Twins, batting .213 with five home runs, 14 RBI and a whopping 36 strikeouts.
To make room for Sano, the Twins sent outfielder Jake Cave back to Rochester. He played in three games with the Twins, homering in his major league debut against Milwaukee on Sunday at Target Field.
The Twins earlier this month signed former major league reliever Paco Rodriguez to a minor league contract and assigned him to Class A Fort Myers, where he has thrown 5⅔ scoreless innings. He’s given up six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.
The plan is to get Rodriguez up to Class AAA Rochester, where he will join the inventory of lefthanded relievers the Twins can choose from if the major league team needs help.
Rodriguez, 27, posted a 2.32 ERA in 76 games for the Dodgers in 2013, then had a 3.86 ERA in 19 games for them in 2014. He went through a stretch of injuries, including Tommy John surgery, in 2015.
The Twins scouted him when he made two appearances for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters this season and offered him a contract.
Righthander Ervin Santana, in his first outing since finger surgery in February, pitched two innings for Class AA Chattanooga on Wednesday. He was greeted with a home run from Montgomery’s Jake Cronenworth.
Santana gave up two earned runs on four hits with no walks and one strikeout. He threw 45 pitches, 29 for strikes.
The 2017 All-Star will soon head to Rochester, where he is expected to start on Monday.