Ready to go: Miguel Sano back with Twins after getting all-clear to return

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Jun 21, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (22) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals during the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Sano spent nearly two weeks living in the basement of the home he shares with his family in the Twin Cities in order to make sure he did not spread the coronavirus. Sano had tested positive during the intake process after arriving for the Twins’ summer camp at Target Field and thus had to stay away from both family and teammates.

“It was really hard times, especially because I worked really hard during the pandemic in the Dominican Republic to be in shape for whenever they (told) us to come back to try to play a season and then when I got here to the states I tested positive,” Sano said Wednesday through Twins interpreter Elvis Martinez. “It’s, obviously, really hard because I have to isolate myself. I used to cry in bed at night missing my family and the people around me. I have to be by myself to protect them as well. It was a tough process, but I’m happy that I’m back.”

Sano got clearance to return, meaning he had registered back-to-back negative tests for COVID-19, on Wednesday and thus was able to rejoin his teammates and begin working out at Target Field.

Sano spoke before the Twins played an intrasquad game, saying he had done some agility work and took batting practice. The Twins’ big-league squad is off Thursday, so Sano will work with the taxi squad at CHS Field in St. Paul as he attempts to get ready to play in the season-opener next Friday against the White Sox in Chicago.

Sano said he has no limitations on what he can do and he’s “100 percent.”

The Twins said Sano was asymptomatic — as was teammate Willians Astudillo, who also tested positive for COVID-19 and has yet to return to the team — and the slugger confirmed he never had any issues. “I never felt anything,” he said. “I just come here and got my test and (it was) positive. I was waiting all the days, two weeks, before I get a negative in the test. I never got flu, I tried to stay away from my family. I stayed living in my basement. I make a door in the basement and tried to stay away from everybody.”

Sano was able to hit baseballs off a tee to try to stay sharp while he was in quarantine. Sano has dealt with weight issues during his career, but he arrived at spring training in excellent shape and it appears that he kept his weight down while at home in the Dominican Republic during the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve been in better shape before in my lifetime, but I lost a lot of pounds,” Sano said. “Sometimes my eating regimen, it was tough, because I tried to eat once a day, twice a day just to kind of control my body weight. It was just a tough process overall. I’ve been in better shape before, but I feel great right now.”

Sano hit .247/.346/.576 with a career-high 34 home runs and 79 RBIs in 105 games with the Twins last season. The 27-year-old signed a three-year, $30 million contract extension during the offseason. The Twins also announced their plan to shift Sano to first base after signing veteran free agent Josh Donaldson to play third during the winter. Sano was working on adjusting to playing first base during spring training and that likely will remain a work in progress this season.