Miguel Sano had himself quite a day on Sunday. The Twins' slugging prospect, playing for Fort Myers in high Class A , was ejected in the middle of his home run trot after clubbing his sixth dinger in just 17 games this season.
And it sounds like manager Doug Mientkiewicz has Sano's back. Per Milb.com:
With two outs in the fifth inning, Cardinals reliever Brandon Creath's first pitch to Sano was a high fastball behind his head.
MLB.com's No. 12 overall prospect sent a 3-1 offering over the Marlins training facility beyond the left-field fence, then allegedly pumped his fists and shouted in the direction of the Palm Beach dugout.
Plate umpire Fernando Rodriguez ejected the 19-year-old before he reached home, bringing Miracle manager Doug Mientkiewicz out of the dugout. Mientkiewicz also was tossed along with Fort Myers left fielder Stephen Wickens.
"Basically, they threw at Miguel Sano for being good because they couldn't get him out," Mientkiewicz said. "They threw at him and missed him and he hit a home run [three] pitches later and the umpire threw him out of the game for yelling something at the other dugout.
"Hit him in the back, I won't like it, but it's part of the game. Throw at his head and it messes with his future and I have a problem with it. It's an embarrassment to the game of baseball."
If you have been looking for a certain swagger from Twins players in recent years and found it lacking, perhaps Sano's eventual arrival will bring it -- in a good way. As talented as he is, it is next to impossible to imagine Joe Mauer shaking off an attempted beanball, homering and then mixing it up. Same goes for Josh Willingham. Justin Morneau? Maybe on a certain day, but not every day.
That's fine for those three players because their reactions would match their personalities. But we can't deny that it's nice when a lineup has a key player who will shove back. Orlando Hudson brought some of that to the plate in 2010. Carlos Gomez had it. Torii Hunter had it. A.J. Pierzynski had it. And yes, as a player, Mientkiewicz had it.
Maybe Delmon Young had a bit of it, but he wasn't the kind of player a team rallied around. Last year and this year, again, we can't imagine a Twins player reacting that way. The Twins didn't lose 96 games last year and 99 games two years ago because they were missing it. But if Sano brings some of that fire to the middle of the lineup eventually, then all the more reason to be rooting for his rapid rise through the minors.