TORONTO – The Twins hoped Miguel Sano’s stint on the 10-day disabled list would be all the time he would need to recover from a stress reaction in his left shin. But it looks as if Sano might need more time, Paul Molitor said Friday.
Sano’s left shin, injured when he fouled a ball off his leg, remains too sore for the third baseman to run on it, the Twins’ manager said.
“Progress has been slow. Each day has maybe been a tick better,” Molitor said. “But each day that it continues to increase at [only] a tick, the [return after] 10 days becomes less likely. Hopefully that changes in the next four or five days.”
Sano is eligible to return Wednesday, but still cannot run, and he hasn’t been able to hit or do fielding drills, either.
“We’re not close to having him go run around and do baseball things, that’s for sure. We’re a couple of days away from that, if not longer,” Molitor said. “We’ll see. I’ve just heard it’s pretty slow progress so far.”
Matt Belisle likes the Players Weekend idea, even if his jersey still says “Belisle” this year, but he’s got another idea for next year: Let teammates come up with nicknames for each player next year. “Within parameters, of course,” he added quickly.
The Twins’ clubhouse was full of chatter about the unusual uniforms Friday, and especially the names on the back. Players were encouraged to wear nicknames on their uniforms this weekend, to show a little more personality. Belisle didn’t — but that sort of reflects his it’s-not-about-me personality, too. When players were instructed to submit nicknames early this season, Belisle believed it to be a Twins promotion, and he said it felt too presumptuous for a newcomer to call attention to himself.
Not every Twins submission was approved by MLB. Taylor Rogers wanted to use “Mister Rogers,” but was informed he couldn’t use the trademarked name of the host of a longtime children’s program. Third-base coach Gene Glynn is called “Birdman” by Twins players, because of his interest and extensive knowledge of birds, but NBA center Chris Andersen owns the trademark to that, too.
And though Bartolo Colon actually owns his own trademark for his “Big Sexy” nickname, he chose to wear “Morales,” the name of his late mother, Adriana, on his back instead.
First base coach Jeff Smith was going to submit “Smitty” for his uniform, but Torii Hunter, his longtime minor-league teammate encouraged him to use the nickname Hunter gave him two decades ago: “Secret Weapon.” Smith “couldn’t bring myself to use the whole thing,” he explained, “so I went with “SW.”
In addition to the unusual uniforms, players are encouraged to break the usual rules about their equipment, too. Eduardo Escobar is swinging a bat painted in the yellow, red and blue colors of the Venezuelan flag, Byron Buxton’s bat is red, white and blue with USA stars, and several players are wearing brightly colored shoes and socks.
• The Blue Jays haven’t announced their starting pitcher for Sunday’s finale yet, but it won’t be former Twin Nick Tepesch. The righthander, who has started three games for Toronto since being waived by the Twins in May, returned from paternity leave Friday, and was promptly optioned to Class AAA Buffalo.
• Twins owner Jim Pohlad is in Toronto for the series, and sat directly behind the Twins’ dugout for much of Friday’s game, before being hosted in the Jays’ executive suite by team President Mark Shapiro.