NEW YORK – The Twins received encouraging news about Miguel Sano and his sore back.
Sano had a magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday that came back relatively clean.
“There was a little sign of an old injury that they are not concerned about,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Sano, who is batting .236 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI, will continue his treatments in the Twin Cities while taking light swings. The Twins hope he can take batting practice on the field with the team Tuesday.
“If that goes well we hope to see him back in the lineup by midweek,” Molitor said.
Sano left Monday’s game at Detroit because of a sore lower right back.
The Twins revealed at the time that Sano awoke a few days earlier with a sore back but was able to play with it up until Monday. They aren’t going to rush him back in the lineup but would like for him to play as much as he can over the final weeks of the season.
The Twins could use his presence in the lineup.
The combination of Sano being injured and the Twins playing in a National League park have led to lineups with Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar batting fifth.
“You try to prepare yourself to play the year out,” Molitor said.
“If he’s physically able to play, it won’t be a very long layoff, roughly close to a week. You send a message that you want your guys to play the year out if they are physically capable.”
Molitor announced righthander Tyler Duffey will be pushed back in the rotation so he can work on some things during his bullpen sessions.
Kyle Gibson will start Sunday before the team has a scheduled off day Monday. Hector Santiago will start on Tuesday when the Twins open a series against the Tigers and be followed by Jose Berrios and Ervin Santana. Gibson will return to start Friday when the Twins play host to Seattle, followed by Duffey.
Molitor said the arrangement enables Santiago and Santana, the team’s most effective starters of late, to face the Tigers, a division foe in the playoff chase.
Berrios is 2-7 with an 8.88 ERA through 12 starts. Only seven other pitchers have had an ERA higher than that through 12 starts in a season.
That includes Sean Bergman, who had a 9.66 ERA in 14 starts with the Twins in 2000. Berrios has altered his windup to try to help him throw more strikes, but the Twins plan to show him drills he can use during the offseason to smooth out his delivery.
Taking it on the chin
Suzuki was available Saturday, but he probably benefited from a day off from catching after he took two more foul balls off his mask during Friday’s game. That came two days after he received five stitches on his chin after a foul ball got him in Detroit.
“He doesn’t show that he’s hurting very often,” Molitor said. “But that second one last night, he was not doing very well.”
Molitor said they made sure Suzuki wasn’t experiencing concussion-like symptoms before allowing him to stay in the game. Juan Centeno started behind the plate on Saturday and John Ryan Murphy will start on Sunday.
No deGrom in mix
On a night in which wigs resembling his flowing locks were given to fans at Citi Field, Jacob deGrom felt pain while playing catch in the outfield. Soon, the Mets announced that the righthander will need elbow surgery and is done for the year. It’s a huge blow to the Mets’ chances in the postseason; deGrom was set to return from a forearm strain Sunday against the Twins. Righthander Gabriel Ynoa will start instead.