Monday marked the fifth game Miguel Sano has missed because of injuries suffered when he slid hard into second base last week in Houston and damaged his lower left leg.
After initially expressing hope he could return in a couple of days, the Twins have taken a more cautious approach, and it might be a few more days before Sano even attempts baseball activities again.
And, as the days go by with No. 22 sidelined, the Twins might have to consider at what point they should shut him down for the final weeks of the season.
“No one’s told me that we’re close to shutting anything down,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It’s just a matter of when we can return to baseball activities. I don’t know if it will be the next day, the next five days. But with three weeks to go, we’re gonna keep pushing, trying to see when we can get him back.”
The left leg is the same one Sano had a titanium rod inserted last offseason to help treat a stress reaction. He felt pain throughout his lower left leg when it hit the bag last Tuesday — he even initially worried that he had broken his leg — but he complained about having a sore knee the next day. And he has been sidelined ever since.
The Twins started treating three areas on his lower leg — the ankle, calf and knee. Further tests on the leg did not reveal any more damage.
“Progress is slow,” Molitor said. “Lot of time in the training room trying to figure out how we can alleviate symptoms that are being preventative of him being able to get into some baseball activities. It hasn’t gone probably like anybody expected after we got the news that everything looked good in terms of any specific injury other than some soreness and swelling. But it’s been slow.”
One way to go
The Twins have approached some of their prospects about adding a one-seam fastball to their repertoires, a pitch that could help them.
Righthander Kohl Stewart, who could pitch on Tuesday vs. the Yankees, is one of them.
“We talked about different grips, who throws one,” said Stewart, who was approached about it in spring training and immediately started working on it. “Talked about Zach Britton and Blake Treinen. We had a bullpen that day and started messing with grips and which one felt comfortable, which one was repeatable.”
The one-seam sinking fastball usually has more of a downward action, while the more popular two-seam sinker will move laterally as well as downward.
“It’s a little more sink,” Stewart said. “A lot more guys are hitting the top of the ball. More swings and misses, too, than I’ve had in previous years.”
Aaron Slegers, on the disabled list because of shoulder problems, also has added one. And Fernando Romero, who finished the season at Class AAA Rochester, has tinkered with one, too.
“I get more sink,” Slegers said. “It’s harder to keep in the strike zone.”
• Ryan Costello hit a three-run homer as Class A Fort Myers defeated Daytona 8-5 on Monday to win the Florida State League championship for the second time, the first since 2014. The Miracle roster includes three of the top-ranked prospects in the Twins farm system: Shortstop Royce Lewis, outfielder Alex Kirilloff and righthander Brusdar Graterol.
• Twins first baseman Tyler Austin (sore back), the former Yankees player who missed his fourth game in a row Monday, took some swings on the field before regular pregame batting practice. He will slowly ramp up activities and could return to action in a few days.