Miguel Sano celebrated his next step toward a return to the major leagues in the best way possible.
Sano went 4-for-4 on Thursday, including a two-run homer, in Class A Fort Myers’ 4-3 walkoff victory over Clearwater. Then he packed his bags for Class AA Pensacola, where the 2017 All-Star is expected to play this weekend.
Sano, rehabbing from a severely lacerated right heel he suffered in January, is now on a timetable that the Twins hope brings him to Target Field in about 10 days, with May 12 the target date, according to a source with knowledge of the team’s plans. His promotion to Pensacola is expected to be announced Friday, and if all goes well, he could be playing with Class AAA Rochester sometime early next week.
Sano has been in Fort Myers since mid-April, completing his own “spring training” regimen to restore his physical shape and ready himself for playing on a daily basis. His formal rehab assignment began Tuesday for the Miracle, and he went 0-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
After Wednesday’s game was rained out, Sano pounded Clearwater pitching on Thursday for three singles, a home run and three RBI, with 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis scoring ahead of him on the home run, and 2019 first-round pick Trevor Larnach singling home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh (and final) inning.
Minnesota-born Morin gets called up
Mike Morin missed out on the celebration.
Rochester had just blown a two-run, 10th-inning lead Wednesday, so the clubhouse was somber. Red Wings manager Joel Skinner called the veteran reliever into his office, “and he just goes, ‘Hey, Mike, I just want to let you know that you’re going to the big leagues,’ ” Morin said. “Pretty stoic.”
If the manager was stoic, though, Morin was shocked. He wasn’t on the 40-man roster, and didn’t know the Twins had decided to place lefthander Adalberto Mejia on the injured list.
“I just casually started packing my bag, and a couple of [teammates] are like, you know, ‘What’s happening?’ ” Morin said. “Then word kind of traveled fast. Everyone was excited, so it always makes you feel good.”
Nobody feels better than Morin, who was born in Andover but grew up in the Kansas City area and turns 28 on Friday. He has made appearances in the majors in six consecutive seasons now, for the Angels, Royals, Mariners and now Twins. His career ERA is 4.66, but after a good spring with the Twins, whom he signed with as a free agent, he gave up only three earned runs in 12 innings at Rochester, convincing the Twins he can help in their bullpen.
Mejia has strained calf
Mejia came down with a strained right calf while doing his daily workout Wednesday, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said, “and it’s not an injury that we want to mess around with.”
Especially since the lefthander can probably use a break after a terrible start to the season. Mejia, who joins Sano and Willians Astudillo on the injured list, has allowed multiple runs in three of his 11 appearances, 11 earned runs in 11 ⅓ innings in all, so his injury also allows the Twins to diagnose his pitching problems, too.
“I’m sure that Mejia is going to want to make some adjustments,” Baldelli said. “There have been times where he gets to two strikes, and the pitches that he’s able to throw with consistency, he just hasn’t been able to get to. You can say the promise is there, the ability is there — it’s just having him take that next step.”