KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Miguel Sano has seen Kennys Vargas and Danny Santana bounce between the majors and minors, he’s seen Michael Tonkin switch teams four times already, he’s notice Oswaldo Arcia stuck at Triple-A. He intends to be different.
“I say, I stay here my whole life,” Sano said Thursday as he prepared for his first major-league game. “Never send [me] down.”
Paul Molitor is OK with that plan, too. The Twins’ manager wrote Sano’s name on his lineup card for the first time Wednesday, batting sixth behind fellow rookie Eddie Rosario. “It’s exciting for my staff and myself and the players,” Molitor said of the Twins’ third prominent promotion in the past four weeks. “We’re looking for a pick-me-up. We’ve tried a couple different things to jump-start us a little bit. You hope he’s that guy. He’s going to add a presence to that lineup. It’s kind of fun to put his name down and see how it works out.”
He doesn’t know how Sano will fare, but he knows where: At the designated hitter spot. Molitor made it clear that Sano is here to hit, not play third base or any other position, though the Twins want him to keep working on his defense. He may get into a game or two at third base between now and the All-Star break, but “I expect him to be a DH.” The manager also assured Trevor Plouffe that he remains a fixture at third baseman.
None of that matters to Sano, not now. At 22 years old, he’s finally achieved a dream he’s had since childhood, and he’s thrilled to be here. He watched video of Royals starter Chris Young with Torii Hunter in the clubhouse before the game, getting pointers on the right-hander’s off-speed stuff, then took batting practice.
Sano said he had to pretend to be surprised when Chattanooga manager Doug Mientkiewicz announced to the Lookouts that he had been promoted. Sano actually got the news when it spread around Twitter, so when Mientkiewicz made his “Welcome to the Show” speech in the clubhouse, he was mostly relieved that the decision was official.
“It was a good moment,” Sano said. “I was really happy when they told me.”
And his goals for tonight? “I try to help the team win,” he said.
Here are the lineups for his major-league debut: