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Twins slugger Miguel Sano tests positive for COVID-19

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
Sep 14, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (22) celebrates his grand slam with right fielder Eddie Rosario (20) in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Sano was the other Twins player to test positive for COVID-19 during the intake process that was recently done as the team reported for its summer camp. The Twins announced the news on Saturday.

Sano joined catcher Willians Astudillo, who tested positive but is asymptomatic. Astudillo will quarantine until he can pass two consecutive coronavirus tests. Sano also will be quarantined and have to pass multiple tests before he can rejoin his teammates.

“I haven’t talked to Miguel, I’m going to talk to Miguel and Willians this afternoon,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But I’ve gotten several reports. I think it’s very honest to say that our guys that aren’t here are disappointed to not be here. Both have worked really hard, they’re ready to get on the field, they know their buddies are out here and taking part. We basically just know that we have to deal with this, we have to do it responsibly.

“There are a lot of different protocols in place and things that we have to follow at this point and that’s what we’ll do. The guys understand that. But Miguel is, I think, champing at the bit to get out here and he’s talking to different people. I’ve heard some messages from him that were actually … they made me smile to hear his voice and him actually having a good time on the other end of the phone. But he’s also disappointed. That’s probably the overriding emotion right now. … I think as soon as we get the clearance he’s going to be out here. I know he’s been working hard, so I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

Sano, who is making the move from third to first base this season to make room for free agent Josh Donaldson, had some issues during the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, he was cleared of kidnapping and assault accusations made against him in the Dominican Republic.

Sano told a newspaper in the Dominican Republic, as well as the Twins, that he was being blackmailed in an attempt to get about $170,000.

The 27-year-old Sano signed a three-year, $30 million contract in the offseason after hitting .247/.346/.576 with a career-high 34 home runs and 79 RBIs in 105 games last season.

The Twins have publicly announced four positive COVID-19 tests among the group of 60 players making up the current roster they are dealing with for the 2020 season. Minor league pitcher Edwar Colina and infielder Nick Gordon previously tested positive. Baldelli acknowledged that having players in the organization test positive for the virus has had an impact on the team.

“I think whether we’re talking about our team or anyone else, I think when you see people you know, people you’re familiar with, friends and family affected by this, I think it really does hit home,” he said. “One-hundred percent. It becomes very real when you see it firsthand. When it’s only something you see on television, or you see people discussing around town, or it’s on the news, I think someone could look at that and not feel like it’s as big of an issue. I personally believe this is a huge issue that we’re all dealing with and I know the importance of it. But everyone might not have the same exact perspective, and I do think when it does hit home is when it does affect the people around you.”