Sano returns home, awaits date for surgery

PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. — As expected, Miguel Sano on Sunday left for the Dominican Republic to visit friends and family before he returns to the country to have Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in a couple of weeks.

Twins vice president and assistant GM Rob Antony confirmed that Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek is being sought to do the surgery.

The exact date is not known. The Twins are checking to see when Altchek is available. While it’s likely that Sano’s season is over, Antony isn’t ruling anything out, including the 20-year-old playing as a designated hitter late in the season. A stint in the Arizona Fall League in addition to winter ball are possibilities, too.

“We won’t rule out DHing at the end of the season if he was up for it,” Antony said. “At the time, if there is any risk of that irritating or slowing the process then we won’t do that. We’ll have to see how he progresses, that is kind of the goal.

“The biggest thing is having him ready for spring training next year.”

Nolasco solid

New Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco had the classic “got-his-work-in” outing Sunday in his first start of the season, throwing two shutout innings while giving up two doubles against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Six of his seven pitches in the first inning were strikes, but a few of them were struck well. Nolasco got out of the second when Jose Molina lined into an inning ending-double play.

That’s the trap when watching pitchers early in spring training games. They usually work on spotting their fastballs early. Hitters look for that and try to attack.

“Free and easy,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You can see he likes to move the ball around, up and down, changes speeds. He’s going to be fun to watch.”

Nolasco said he already has a good feel for his pitches, and he is just in the process of building arm strength.

“It was good to get a little adrenaline going and get into a game atmosphere,” he said.

Waring warning

Brandon Waring is in a run of six consecutive seasons in which he has hit at least 20 home runs — none in the majors. He is a career .254 hitter in the minors and batted .213 in two stops in the Orioles chain last season.

But Waring showed what happens when he makes contact, hitting a home run in the seventh inning that carried well over the left-center field wall and hit the roof of the Tiki bar.

“He hit it right to the Tiki Hut,” Gardenhire said, “right to where I wanted to be all day.”

Waring likely will start the season at Class AAA Rochester, playing either first or third base.

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