OAKLAND, CALIF. – Young Twins slugger Miguel Sano is expected to miss a few games because of a sprained right ankle suffered when he stepped on a ball going through fielding drills Saturday.
Sano played in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Athletics despite the injury, even coming through with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning that gave the Twins the lead at the time. That’s when he informed the training staff that his ankle had gotten worse.
The Twins don’t believe the injury is severe. Sano was given crutches as he left the park to keep his 260 pounds off the ankle.
“A little sprained ankle,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. “He’s out a couple of days.”
Sano was out early Saturday to work on fielding drills at first base when the injury occurred.
“I was out there when it happened,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He had been taking balls behind the bag, and he had moved in to take one coming off the bag. There was one [ball] between first and second that had rolled in from the outfield. He had made the play and came down on the ball. I guess we should have cleared the area a little better.
“It seemed like he was going to be OK, but I think progressively, as the game went on, it just got more difficult for him to plant on that foot when he was hitting and probably aggravated it a little more during the course of the game.”
If Sano needs only three to five days to recover, the Twins won’t place him on the disabled list. And there are no plans to have him undergo an MRI exam. He will have Monday’s scheduled off day to rest the ankle, and the Twins will check on him Tuesday before the series opener against the Angels.
“I wouldn’t want to get into a DL situation if a guy is going to be available here in a relatively short amount of time,” Molitor said.
It’s a setback for the Twins, who had been able to trot out a top five of Brian Dozier, Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, Sano and Trevor Plouffe in recent games. And that group has been able to put together some nice innings. Sano has impressed with his plate discipline while batting .326 with two home runs, nine RBI, a .434 on base percentage and .558 slugging percentage.
The Twins averaged 3.67 runs a game in June. In the 13 games Sano has played in since being called up July 2, the Twins averaged 4.69 runs a game.
“We needed to stretch out our lineup, particularly the middle,” Molitor said. “And we were able to insert him.”
Now the lineup is going to look a little thin while Sano recovers. “Hopefully just a couple days,” Sano said.
Before Sunday’s game, Molitor spoke favorably about shortstop Danny Santana but added that he’s still trying to figure out the game.
“He’s still learning how to separate offense and defense,” Molitor said. “He wants to be a valuable offensive player and when he doesn’t do that, he has to remember to go play defense, and he’s still learning how to do that.”
Santana had not committed an error in his last 14 games — and just one since May 31 — but threw away two balls on Sunday during the Twins’ 14-1 loss to the A’s.
“That wasn’t his best day,” Molitor said. “Not too hard to say that.”
Molitor had not spoken with Santana yet. Consistency in the field has been an issue for Santana as he tries to find his offensive game. He was 1-for-4 on Sunday and is batting .221. The concern is that he gets down on himself, making things worse.
“I work a lot on the field,” Santana said. “I tried to make good [plays] and help the team. I don’t want to make errors.”