Twins third baseman Miguel Sano participated in batting practice Monday, raising the possibility that the All-Star slugger could return to the lineup soon, perhaps as soon as Tuesday.
Sano took his swings a few hours after the latest round of tests on his bruised left hand came back negative. Manager Paul Molitor said Sano was available off the bench in Monday night’s 5-4 victory over Milwaukee.
“He can ease himself back into getting himself back into the lineup,” Molitor said.
Sano was struck on the left hand Friday by pitch thrown by Texas reliever Tony Barnette, the second time in less than two weeks that Sano had been hit in that area. An X-ray hand came back negative.
“You get hit multiple times in the same hand and it has a chance to linger a little bit,” Molitor said.
But the Twins ordered a CT scan and a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday, just to make sure the swelling didn’t mask any injury.
“I think the peace of mind of having more tests today is more of a good thing for him,” Molitor said. “It may be a little bit more comfortable, as far as how far he can test it.”
Meanwhile, Molitor has crafted some unique lineups sans Sano. Chris Gimenez batted cleanup Saturday, Eddie Rosario was there Sunday and Eduardo Escobar Monday. Escobar hit third, Sano’s usual spot, Saturday and Sunday.
Two here, two there
The Twins are playing four games against the Brewers this week, with two at Target Field followed by two at Miller Park. It doesn’t appear to be the best way of optimizing the matchup, but that is how Major League Baseball has scheduled its interleague rivalry series in recent years.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier made an appearance at the Mall of America on Monday and couldn’t help tease some fans in Brewers gear. He still thinks the pair of two-game series is good for the rivalry.
“I don’t mind two games,” said Dozier, who was back in the lineup Monday after leaving Sunday’s game because of lightheadedness. “Essentially, it is a four-game set, two and two.”
Next year, the AL Central will face the NL Central in interleague play, and the rivalry matchups in those seasons usually are two three-game series — like they were in 2015, 2012 and 2009.
Top prospect promoted
The Twins promoted lefthander Stephen Gosalves to Class AAA Rochester on Sunday, putting him in range of a possible September call-up.
Gonsalves, 23, went 8-3 with a 2.68 ERA in 15 starts for Class AA Chattanooga. In 87⅓ innings, he walked 23 batters while striking out 96. He threw 6⅔ shutout innings in his most recent start Friday. His fastball sits in the low 90-mile-per-hour range, and he complements that with a solid breaking ball and an above-average changeup.
“His curveball and slider are two things we think have improved this year,” said Brad Steil, the Twins director of minor league operations.
A fourth-round pick in 2013 out of high school in San Diego, Gonsalves has made steady progress through the organization, earning a midseason promotion each year. He did battle some shoulder issues last year while pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
In 85 minor league games, he is 40-15 with a 2.23 ERA. He began the season ranked as the Twins’ second-best prospect by Baseball America.
The Twins also promoted righthanded reliever Luke Bard to Rochester. He went 4-3 with a 2.58 ERA at Chattanooga. Bard, 26, was the 42nd overall pick in 2012 but has battled shoulder injuries.