But if his body has gotten bigger this offseason, so have his expectations. Sano may have only 67 games of experience above Class A, but he made it clear this weekend that he intends to play here this season — and right away.
“I have a fairly [large] amount of expectation to make the team” this spring, said the minor leagues’ top power-hitting prospect.
His expectations are higher than that, actually. When it was pointed out that his home run totals have jumped from 20 in 2011 to 28 in 2012, and to 35 last year, Sano didn’t need an interpreter to explain what’s next.
“I hit 45 this year. More games,” he said. “Maybe 55, you never know.”
Such is the exuberance of a power hitter who just received a clean bill of health. Sano was examined by Twins doctors Saturday, the fourth such exam he’s undergone since he began feeling pain in his elbow shortly after the season ended, and no structural damage was found. The pain has ceased after his six-week break from training, too, so it appears he will avoid surgery.
Hicks learns painful lessons
Aaron Hicks figures he learned more in the major leagues last year than he would have at Clas AAA, even though he didn’t like what he learned: that he wasn’t ready.
“I’ve had the worst of it all,” Hicks said of his .192 batting average in 81 games last summer. “I understand failure. I’d rather go through that, the fact that I’ve actually dealt with it. Now I know what I have to do to prepare.”
He knows he’s projected to spend this summer in Rochester, as the Twins try to draw out the talent that earned him his major league job last spring. But “I’m expecting to try to win a job here, just like last year,” Hicks said. “Hopefully it’s in the big leagues. If I do go to Triple-A, I’ll do what I can to get back here.”