La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

BREAKING: Miguel Sano to have Tommy John surgery

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 1, 2014 - 7:45 AM

 
Miguel Sano's worst fears came true on Saturday morning.

The highly-touted third base prospects has a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and will need Tommy John surgery. Sano will fly to Minnesota next week to have the surgery.

Sano was injured during Thursday's intrasquad game when he rushed a throw to retire Kurt Suzuki.

The ordeal goes back to the minor league season, when the elbow bothered him while he played for Class AA New Britain. It continued to bother him while he played for Estrellas of the Dominican Winter League, and the decision was made for him to rest for two weeks. He tired to throw after that and still in problems so, during the first week of November, the decision was made to shut him down for the remainder of the winter ball season because of the strained UCL.

During this time, Sano and his agent, Rob Plummer, sought a second opinion. So Sano headed to Birmingham, Ala., to be examined by world-renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews. Andrews agreed with the Twins, that Sano needed rest and rehabilitation.

Sano rested the elbow and then worked on strengthening it. He moved to Fort Myers in January to continue rehab. He had the elbow checked out while he was in town for TwinsFest, and given the go-ahead to proceed with normal progression to spring training.

The Twins were careful with Sano in some throwing drills. But he passed all the tests and was given the green light to play. He could go through all the drills he wanted but the real test would come during game action when he would have to make throws from different angels.

It didn't take long for him to be tested, as he had to hurry to make the play on Suzuki.

Tommy John rehab for position players isn't as extensive as pitchers, but indications are that Sano's season could be over.

It's a bummer for Twins fans who can't wait for the wave of the future to hit Target Field.

Check back here for more details. Also, Phil Miller will have the main story up later today.

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