St. PETERSBURG, FLA. – Miguel Sano hit off a tee Monday, his first baseball activity since Aug. 19, when the third baseman went down because of a stress reaction in his left shin.
Recovery has been a lengthy process, longer than the Twins hoped for, but the All-Star has shown enough progress in recent days for him to pick up a bat and take some swings in the batting cages at Target Field.
That’s the first step. Now he has to continue to see improvement in his shin while slowly increasing his baseball activities.
“We’re hoping he handles that well, and we will try to increase his baseball activities the rest of the week if the leg allows him to do that,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Possibly, if we don’t have any setbacks, try to get some batting practice in over the next couple of days.”
Sano fouled a ball off his shin Aug. 18 against Arizona, and the discomfort increased as he finished that game — he ended up hitting home runs in his final two at-bats — and attempted to play a day later.
But now the shin has improved to the point to where the Twins can start building him up for a return.
“It is just a matter of when we can get him out there, try to jog a little bit and build up to where he can get around the bases,” Molitor said. “Then we’ll start thinking about when he can contribute.
“It’s getting closer to a day-to-day situation, but we’re not there yet. We still have a ways to go.”
Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario has surged at the plate in recent weeks, softening the blow of Sano’s absence. But the Twins remain eager to get Sano, his 28 home runs and 77 RBI back in the lineup.
“We don’t really have a another Miggy-type player out there,” Molitor said, “a player who can do what he does, the threat that he brings every time he takes a swing.”
Rochester’s season ends
The Twins almost had every one of their minor league teams reach the postseason. Class AAA Rochester is the exception, as the Red Wings beat Pawtucket 10-1 on Monday but were eliminated from the postseason when Lehigh Valley beat Scranton 4-3 to claim the International League’s wild-card spot because of a tiebreaker.
Rochester appeared to be in the driver’s seat but lost five of its final eight games.
“I’m disappointed for them because they had a good opportunity the last few days,” Molitor said.
But that means the Twins will bring up a few more players from Rochester to add depth to a club that’s trying to hold on to a wild-card spot. Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey is traveling with the Twins during this week’s seven-game road trip to Tampa Bay and Kansas City and met with Molitor to discuss possible reinforcements.
It’s unlikely that any new faces will be among the group that will be called up. In fact, the most important additions will come from the disabled list.
For instance, Robbie Grossman, out because of a broken left thumb, went 1-for-7 in two games with Red Wings during a rehabilitation assignment and is now headed back to the Twins.
Molitor and Falvey’s discussions about call-ups are ongoing.
“We’re talking about if there are any fits,” Molitor said.
• Sam Perlozzo, the Twins minor league infield and baserunning coordinator, is with the major league club for this road trip. Afterward, he will return to Fort Myers, Fla., to prepare for the organization’s annual instructional league. Molitor said that a couple more minor league coaches are scheduled to serve stints with the major league club before the season ends.
• Righthander Aaron Slegers was added to the roster Monday, on his 25th birthday. He will start Wednesday’s series finale.