Twins will be cautious with Miguel Sanó upon return, could play him at multiple positions

Twins third baseman Miguel Sanó might be close to reclaiming the title of Twins third baseman. Sanó is on a minor league rehab assignment that currently has him in Double-A Pensacola, but the Twins don’t need to see him crush Southern League pitching for an extended period of time to decide on his ability to rejoin the 25-man roster in Minnesota.

Once the big man was healthy enough to play following a nasty post-celebratory ordeal with a lacerated heel, the Twins slated him for extended spring training. Then it was two games at High-A Fort Myers and a move up to Double-A. In his first four games with the Blue Wahoos, Sanó has two doubles and a home run among his 5 hits in 16 plate appearances. So maybe he’ll continue to move quickly on the Billy Madison-style sprint through the minor leagues on his way to graduating (again) to the big leagues.

“His performance in the minor leagues has been solid,” Twins GM Thad Levine told SKOR North this week. “He’s been swinging the bat well. … The other part of the equation is: How is he doing off the field in terms of his [physical] maintenance? He’s done a really nice job, he’s been really committed that we put in place last offseason.”

“He’s getting back in great shape and he’s also been a nice mentor to some of our young players [in the minors]. So on all those fronts Miguel has shown a lot of maturity. And certainly from our fan’s standpoint, some decent power along the way as well,” Levine said.

Levine also said that Sanó primarily will play third base upon his return to the Twins. But don’t rule out the possibility that he’ll also play first base and DH, Levine said. Levine also added that Sanó will  “probably have a few off days at the outset of his reintroduction to the big leagues.”

“Our goal is to bring him back up and [make sure] that this is a one-way ticket, and he doesn’t have any setbacks along the way. So we’re going to be a little cautious on the front end to hopefully reap all of the benefits down the road.”

Levine said that the Twins don’t have a firm date on his return, but noted that when he can play the majority of the games in a given week, then they’ll add him to the active roster.

“Our thought here is he’s just spent so much time away from the field that we’re not going to short change him, we’re not going to artificially rush him. We’re very comfortable with the unit we have at the Major League level,” Levine said, noting that the Twins feel they have 10-12 quality offensive players, which should allow the team to give Sanó frequent off days if needed.

Last year was basically a lost season for Sanó, who hit .199/.281/.398 in 299 plate appearances. But the season before the he hit .264/.352/.507 with 28 home runs in only 114 games before an injury ended his season. If he can return to form, the power potential could make an already-dangerous Twins lineup just that much better.

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