CLEVELAND – Miguel Sano’s new team has the weekend off, but Sano does not. The Twins’ sidelined slugger arrived in Fort Myers on Friday and will begin his new workout program Saturday morning at the team’s spring training complex.
Sano will, in essence, be working through a second spring training: He’ll work with hitting coaches in the batting cage, with trainers in the weight room, and with fielding coaches on the infield. And several times a week, but probably not every day, he’ll play in a game.
“The number [of games] will be determined by the program he’s on. There might be some days with heavy workdays, some days where he just plays in a game,” explained Derek Falvey, the Twins’ chief baseball officer. “He’ll have some days where he travels, and some where he stays back.”
The Class A Fort Myers Miracle, idle due to the Florida State League All-Star Game, will resume their season Monday, presumably with Sano in the lineup. He’ll earn minor league wages, less than half of his $602,000 big-league salary but still far more than most of his teammates.
The Twins don’t have any weight target for Sano, Falvey said, nor do they have any plans yet for sending him to higher affiliates. “We just want him to be strong and healthy.” And when will that be?
“We’ll just assess it, week to week. … We’ll track it like we would with any player, with assessments from a strength standpoint and the moves he needs to make,” Falvey said. “It’s going to be fluid.”
Joe Mauer’s concussion-like symptoms didn’t completely disappear until last week, the Twins’ first baseman said Friday after being activated from the disabled list. That they lingered for three weeks after his initial neck injury, suffered while diving for a foul ball on May 17, is just a risk he accepts.
“I’ve been having some good days, and we checked all the boxes off. I’m here and I’m feeling good,” Mauer said. “I’m not going to play any different.” He won’t try to be careful about diving for balls or anything that could bring them back? “My experiences is, when you try to do that, you end up getting hurt,” he said.
Mauer went 0-for-10 in a two-day rehab assignment — he also splurged for steak and lobster for his Red Wings teammates — and found himself in the leadoff spot on his first day back, with Brian Dozier moved to fifth.
“I guess it’s growing on me,” Mauer said. “I definitely like hitting in the first inning, maybe getting that extra at-bat.”
Jorge Polanco’s minor league assignment won’t begin on Sunday, as the Twins had hoped, due to a cut that the shortstop sustained a week ago on a finger on his right hand. The finger, injured when he jammed his hand in a door, has not completely healed.
The delay doesn’t affect Polanco’s return to the Twins, however. He must be returned to the 40-man roster when his 80-game steroid suspension ends on July 2.
“This is the way things have gone all year. It’s a cut on his finger, and we’re treating it to make sure it doesn’t become something worse,” Falvey said. “This just shortens his rehab assignment. It might mean he’ll play in fewer games in that window, but we don’t see it as a long-term issue.”
Motter called up
• Taylor Motter was called up from Class AAA Rochester to serve as backup infielder — or even outfielder. Motter has played every position but catcher in his three major league seasons. “It’s been so long since I’ve had a ‘main’ position,” Motter said. “I’ve been there, done that. I’ll play anywhere.”
• Righthander Trevor May was placed on the disabled list by Rochester with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.