SEATTLE – Twins third base prospect Miguel Sano returned to the starting lineup for Class AA New Britain on Sunday after he was benched for four games for showing off following a home run Tuesday.
Sano wasn’t totally idle during his time out of the lineup, filling in as first base coach during the weekend. But now both sides want to move on after the highly publicized incident. Sano met with New Britain manager Jeff Smith before the game to make sure everything was fine between them as they try to move forward.
“If anything, I think he’s trying to figure things out and understand,” said Rob Antony, the Twins assistant general manager. “He’s a good kid but, like we say, it’s all part of the development. He has to understand that it’s not right, that’s not the way we go about and we clean that stuff up in Double-A.”
Sano went 1-for-3 with two RBI and an error Sunday night as New Britain beat Reading 9-3, ending a nine-game losing streak.
He is hitting .234 with 10 homers and 30 RBI for the Rock Cats. After a terrible start, Sano has hit .344 with four home runs and 12 RBI over his past nine games.
He is ranked as the third-best prospect in the game by Baseball America and is second best in the Twins organization behind the publication’s No. 1 overall prospect, Class A Fort Myers outfielder Byron Buxton.
• Second baseman Brian Dozier left Sunday’s 6-4 loss to Seattle in the sixth inning because of lower back stiffness and was replaced by Jamey Carroll. Dozier hopes to be able to return Tuesday. He said it first locked up Friday and returned during his first at-bat Sunday. Manager Ron Gardenhire noticed Dozier wasn’t swinging the bat well when he struck out in the fifth inning.
• Catcher Drew Butera was sent back to Class AAA Rochester after Sunday’s game. Joe Mauer will be reinstated from the restricted list Monday. Mauer remained in the Twin Cities to be with his wife and newborn twin daughters two days longer than Major League Baseball allows for paternity leave. As per league rules, he had to be placed on the restricted list.
• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni (left ankle surgery) will the designated hitter for nine innings Monday for the Twins Gulf Coast League rookie team. He will move to Class A Fort Myers in a few days if all goes well.
• The Twins hope righthander Nick Blackburn (right knee inflammation) will miss only one start at Class AAA Rochester. He was put on the seven-day disabled list on Saturday and given a cortisone shot. He has a history of knee problems.