Twins Cut Miguel Sano’s Winter Season Short
Image courtesy of David Richard, USA TodaySano was not in the lineup for the Estrella Orientales on Tuesday and was absent again on Wednesday. When prompted, Sano told reporters that he received the news from the organization on Tuesday that they would like him to no longer participate in the league. The message was that the team wanted Sano to rest so that he could enter spring training at full strength. Sano said that he wanted to continue to play for his home country but would respect the wishes of his employer.
Sano, who had played just 15 games with the team (none of which were spent in the outfield), missed 10 games while attending a card show in Chicago. In the short stretch in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano, he posted a .241/.344/.426 line with a 15/8 K/BB ratio while hitting two home runs including this mighty wallop:
The timing for the request is odd but not without its merits. After all, Sano finished the 2015 regular season dealing with a hamstring injury that limited his play. While the early offseason hubbub revolved around Sano’s transition to the outfield, as was pointed out in early November, Sano did not expect to see any time in the outfield in winter ball, saying that he was just told to get a feel for the position during batting practice and warm-ups. The Twins later clarified that they would use the time during spring camp to teach Sano a corner outfield position. However, if injury was a concern, why let him participate in winter ball at all?
The main goal the Twins outlined for Sano’s offseason was to trim down. According to the Star Tribune’s LaVelle Neal, Sano finished the season at 270 pounds -- nearly 8 pounds heavier than his measured 262 at the beginning of camp and 40 pounds more than his weight when he checked into camp in 2013, which he then considered his “ideal weight”. An emphasis was placed on his diet and conditioning this offseason and his withdraw for winter ball may allow the organization to keep close tabs on his weight, particularly if he reports to Fort Myers.
With the Twins’ stated intentions of using him as an outfielder in 2016, ensuring that Sano does not inflict further damage to his hamstring while monitoring his conditioning does not seem unreasonable.