Sano getting Hall of Fame help

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2013 - 12:07 AM

As the Twins groom Miguel Sano in the finer points of being a third baseman, they have enlisted the help of someone who knows a bit about that role – Paul Molitor.

At 6-4 and 240 pounds, Twins top prospect Miguel Sano might not seem a perfect fit at third, but he’s been making improvements in his defense, with the help of Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.

Photo: Kathy Willens • Associated Press ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Each morning at spring training, Miguel Sano hits the field with all the gear he needs to hone his skills as a third baseman.

Like his glove, his sunglasses, his wristbands — and his Hall of Famer.

Paul Molitor hasn’t been far from Sano for most of camp, lending his expansive knowledge of the finer points of being a third baseman.

“If he’s playing over here, I’m going to be standing near him, watching him and trying to get in his ear about why he was, where he was at and what he was thinking of on this particular play,’’ said Molitor, a baserunning and infield coordinator at camp. “He has a great attitude about it. He’s always gracious about receiving the info. He’s very coachable.’’

The Twins have asked Molitor to help Sano because they could solve their third base problem for years if they can keep his big power bat at the hot corner. Sano was signed to a $3.15 million contract in 2009, the most ever for a Latin position player at the time. Since then, they’ve watched him continue to grow — he added 1 ½ inches over the past year and is now 6 feet, 4 inches. They also watched him commit 42 errors last season while at Class A Beloit.

While a 6-4, 240-pounder seems destined for the outfield — if not the NFL — the Twins are not ready to pull Sano off third base just yet. They feel he has the hands, agility and arm to play the position, despite his growth spurt. And last season was Sano’s first full season at third, giving the Twins a wait-and-see attitude on his development.

To aid in that development, they have asked Molitor, who played 791 games at third during his career, to get involved.

Sano, 19, could be on the fast track to the majors — as fast as 2014, although 2015 is the realistic goal at present. He batted .258 for Beloit last season but hit 28 homers and drove in 100 runs in 129 games. He walked 80 times, for a .373 on-base percentage, and struck out 114.

The Twins took Sano to Tampa on Thursday to face the Yankees, and he came through with two singles and two above-average plays in the field during a 6-1 victory.

Afterward, Sano was asked about the strides he’s made defensively.

“When I played third base for the first time, I work with Paul Molitor,’’ said Sano, who’s honing his English skills, as well. “I work every day at third base.

“I listen to him and watch him. He tells me about the defense. He says something every time I play third.’’

Tough transition

Sano and Molitor usually are on one of the back fields at the Lee County Sports Complex this spring around 8:30 a.m. on days he’s not playing minor league road sgames.

Signed as a shortstop, Sano played that position in 2010 as a minor leaguer then split time between short and third in 2011 while in rookie ball at Elizabethton, Tenn. The move to third was completed last season, and Sano immediately realized how much faster things happen at third as opposed to shortstop.

A good third baseman has to be composed and collected as rocket-line drives come his way. He also has to pounce on slow rollers and bunts like a linebacker chasing a fumble. And moving from short can be a challenge.

“You’re going from short, which is a run-and-catch position, to third, which is a step-and-catch position,’’ said former Twin Ron Coomer, who was a shortstop in high school before moving to third. “It’s a weird transition.’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 12/18/14 7:25 PM
Jacksonville
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Dallas 6:30 PM
Detroit
Utah 6:30 PM
Miami
Orlando 6:30 PM
Boston
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Toronto
Memphis 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Portland
Houston 9:30 PM
Denver
Indiana 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 6:00 PM
Ball State
SIU Edwardsville 6:00 PM
Campbell
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Duquesne
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida State
Catawba 6:00 PM
George Mason
Ferrum 6:00 PM
High Point
Hampton 6:00 PM
Illinois
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
Longwood 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Miss State
Tennessee 6:00 PM
NC State
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Toledo
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Wofford
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Barber-Scotia 6:00 PM
NC Central
Detroit 6:30 PM
UCF
Liberty 6:30 PM
UNC-Wilmington
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
Denver
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
Houston
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Milligan 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
USC Upstate 7:00 PM
Memphis
Alcorn State 7:00 PM
Murray State
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Georgia State 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
TX-Pan American 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
SMU
Texas State 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
SC State 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Chicago State 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Northern Colorado 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Winthrop 8:00 PM
Auburn
New Mexico St 8:00 PM
Baylor
San Diego St 8:00 PM
Cincinnati
Eastern Mich 8:00 PM
Michigan State
Loyola Marymount 8:00 PM
Stanford
Incarnate Word 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Northeastern 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Central Arkansas 9:00 PM
New Mexico
Howard 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Portland 9:30 PM
UNLV
CS-Northridge 10:00 PM
Oregon
Grambling St 10:00 PM
Washington
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 67 2nd Half 5:47
UCF 51
Richmond 68 2nd Half 4:08
UNC-Wilmington 60
Montana 32 2nd Half 18:16
Seattle 27
(7) Stanford 8 1st Half 15:34
Chattanooga 5
Florida A&M 5:30 PM
Southern U
Oklahoma 5:30 PM
(13) Duke
Savannah State 5:30 PM
Auburn
Northern Colorado 6:00 PM
South Florida
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Siena 6:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Vermont 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
(1) South Carolina 6:00 PM
Hampton
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Texas Southern 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Northwestern 6:00 PM
UNLV
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Appalachian St
NC Central 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Drexel 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Cincinnati 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Alabama State 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Morehead St 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
Arkansas State 6:00 PM
Kent State
American Univ 6:00 PM
Manhattan
UNC Greensboro 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Arkansas-Monticello 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Prairie View 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
McNeese State 7:00 PM
(3) Texas
Yale 7:00 PM
Wagner
Oakland 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Eastern Kentucky 7:00 PM
Alabama A&M
SIU-Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
McMurry 7:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Portland 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
North Texas 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close