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  • It's Official: Sano to have Tommy John Surgery

    Twins fans may have gone to bed on Friday night excited to get their first glimpse of the 2014 Minnesota Twins. Saturday's noon (central time) Twins game will be televised on Fox Sports North.

    Twins fans were also holding on to a hope that uber-prospect Miguel Sano might be able to avoid Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately, that proved to be just a dream. On Saturday morning, Twins media was informed that Sano will head to Minneapolis next week and have Tommy John surgery.

    Sano is a clear top ten prospect in the game of baseball. He is regarded as the top third base prospect and the best power-hitting prospect in baseball. He hit 35 home runs in 2013 between Ft. Myers and New Britain. There was some hope that he could surface with the Twins sometime, maybe early, in the 2014 season.

    However, in just his second game in the Dominican Winter League, Sano came out of the game with a sore elbow. After seeing Twins doctors and the respected Dr. James Andrews, the decision was made for Sano to rest for two months, and then start a throwing program in January.

    Things went well until Thursday's intrasquad game. Sano made two nice plays and showed off his strong arm. However, when he had to make an off-balanced throw, the pain came back.

    The Pioneer Press's Mike Berardino posted a Tout video of an interview he conducted with Sano after learning the news. It's sad, and you can just seen the sadness and disappointment in his face.

    He is expected to miss the entire 2014 season. Recovery time from Tommy John surgery for position players is generally in the six to eight month range as opposed to the twelve (or more) months it takes a pitcher to return.

    It will be interesting to see how the Twins and Sano handle his return. Could he be some at bats in a rehab in the GCL late in the summer? He should be ready for Instructional League. Could they send him to the Arizona Fall League? There is no reason to believe that he won't be at 100% before next spring training.

    Twins fans can hope. Best wishes to Miguel Sano.
    Comments 167 Comments
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      @JB
      I suppose that is a silver lining. I'm sure the rehab is pretty grueling though.
      I have no idea if the following description of rehab is correct but you are right that it seems pretty intense:

      http://www.yougoprobaseball.com/tomm...and-rehab.html


      But it also would be a little different than his regular baseball regimen so perhaps it would give him a bit of a mental break.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Since71 View Post
      Not blaming this at all on the Twins Med staff/trainers but doesn't it seem like the Twins have had an unusually high number of TJ surgeries?
      TJS is pretty common among players nowadays. I remember KC had a rash of surgeries a couple years back.

      Most teams go through this, it just seems particularly frustrating for the Twins because they've been hit with some of their best players and prospects going down in recent years (Liriano, Baker, Gibson, now Sano).

      It stings a lot more when your good players go down... Not so much the Alex Wimmers of the world.
    1. Since71's Avatar
      Since71 -
      Yeah you are right it has been some of their best players and that is probably why it stands out more
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      TJS is pretty common among players nowadays. I remember KC had a rash of surgeries a couple years back.

      Most teams go through this, it just seems particularly frustrating for the Twins because they've been hit with some of their best players and prospects going down in recent years (Liriano, Baker, Gibson, now Sano).

      It stings a lot more when your good players go down... Not so much the Alex Wimmers of the world.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      *Alex Meyer waves frantically from Ft Myers, yelling "me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me!"*
      That's a shoulder injury. Surgeries are very invasive and to avoided when possible when it comes to that.

      edit: Not that TJ isn't invasive, but they have that down to a science nowadays.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      It worked with Meyer. At least we hope he doesn't have trouble this year . . .

      Moving towards a lost Twins season. A key thing for my interest this year was Sano in June.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      All the best to him.

      And I hope that this gives him a mental break as well as a physical one. One of the things his agent noted yesterday was that he hadn't "had any time off since he was 15" and that the injury may have been due (at least in part) to the stress placed on his arm in his youth.

      If he hasn't had a physical break, he probably hasn't had a mental break either so a few weeks away from baseball might be a good thing before he gears up again to work on the things that Thrylos mentioned.

      Is this what he or the Twins or any of us would have wanted to happen? Of course not. But now that it has happened, they need to make the best of it.
      Exactly what I was thinking. A test of his patience but a chance to see the game from a new perspective too.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      Oh, man. That's so depressing. Sano was one of the big reasons to be optimistic that the Twins could put together a better record than projected in 2014.

      Taking the long view, my big concern is just that he can still play third base on the other end of this surgery. I don't know how much this sort of procedure and recovery increases his chances of moving to first base--I don't know enough of the history with position players having it--but I'm more concerned about it not hampering his fielding long-term than I am with his timetable being delayed, as disappointing as that is.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      TJS is pretty common among players nowadays. I remember KC had a rash of surgeries a couple years back.

      Most teams go through this, it just seems particularly frustrating for the Twins because they've been hit with some of their best players and prospects going down in recent years (Liriano, Baker, Gibson, now Sano).

      It stings a lot more when your good players go down... Not so much the Alex Wimmers of the world.
      While part of the "rash" is undoubtedly due to medical advances (many of the prospects/players would have just faded away longer ago), I have to wonder if the occurrence so early in so many careers isn't due somewhat to the intensity of youth sports. (Even in my small town, a group of parents have developed a more intense baseball program for kids they expect to excel).

      There was an article the other day about the advantages of kids participating in a variety of sports while young (referencing Buxton, Mauer, etc). Have to wonder if it isn't better for them not only in developing a variety of tools (the point of the column) but also because varying up activities may prevent repetitive stress.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dance with Disco Dan View Post
      I must admit, though, I am having a hard time thinking of many position-player TJ cases.
      I dug around a little bit, and the following position players all had TJ:
      Mike Aviles
      Dustin Ackley
      Shin-Soo Choo
      Zach Cozart
      Carl Crawford
      Matt Holliday
      Cesar Izturis
      Kelly Johnson
      Xavier Nady
      Luke Scott

      Top-100-ish Prospects:
      Hak-Ju Lee
      Rymer Liriano
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      Sigh. I got out of bed to read this? I'm going back to bed.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by crarko View Post
      Paul Molitor. At least he will be able to counsel Miguel during his rehab.

      Furcal.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      From Rhett Bollinger: "The MRI found a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in Sano's right elbow. He didn't re-injure it. It just didn't get better."

      ..I promise I'll stop playing armchair doctor soon.

      But...did they not do periodic MRIs to make sure it was healing? Did they give him an MRI before he started throwing again? If not, I don't get it.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by raindog View Post
      That's a shoulder injury. Surgeries are very invasive and to avoided when possible when it comes to that.

      edit: Not that TJ isn't invasive, but they have that down to a science nowadays.
      Nevertheless, you have to listen to your doctor's advice, particularly when he's the most respected man in the field. If the doctor says no surgery, you don't get surgery.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      While part of the "rash" is undoubtedly due to medical advances (many of the prospects/players would have just faded away longer ago), I have to wonder if the occurrence so early in so many careers isn't due somewhat to the intensity of youth sports. (Even in my small town, a group of parents have developed a more intense baseball program for kids they expect to excel).

      There was an article the other day about the advantages of kids participating in a variety of sports while young (referencing Buxton, Mauer, etc). Have to wonder if it isn't better for them not only in developing a variety of tools (the point of the column) but also because varying up activities may prevent repetitive stress.
      I think this is a real problem and have read several studies/articles that suggest the same.

      Throwing a baseball is a very unnatural motion on the shoulder and elbow. Exposing still-growing children to the rigors of it in competition can't lead to good results. It doesn't take anything more than common sense to see that.

      I think this is evidenced in the old baseball saying "throw 95 at age 18, throw 85 at age 22", or however it went. Basically, if you're throwing unnaturally hard at a young age, the common wisdom was that you'd often see a significant drop in velocity as you matured.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Some insight from Paul Molitor:

      http://blogs.twincities.com/twins/20...mmy-john-path/
    1. DuluthFan's Avatar
      DuluthFan -
      Sad news for Twins fans.

      But this is one reason why you don't add someone to the 40 man roster before it's necessary.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      When they say they aren't worried about not having surgery sooner seems dumb to me. Whether he misses the whole 2014 season or not. The sooner he has the surgery the farther from it he'll be in 2015.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Now that we know the offensive cavalry isn't coming this year, should the Twins look harder at signing Drew?
    1. SouthDakotaFarmer's Avatar
      SouthDakotaFarmer -
      Lets just hope he doesn't get fat and lose his nimbleness and ability to play the hot corner.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34 View Post
      The Twins prospects have lost some time of late.

      e.g.

      Kennys Vargas is 23, he's only had 1 full minor league season due to injuries/suspensions.
      Eddie Rosario is out 50g this year (so will only have half a season).
      And then Sano.

      Can anyone benefit from Sano's spot being open at New Britian?

      Trying to find a positive here...

      Could Travis Harrison move up more quickly? Maybe do a A/A+ to A+/AA this year?

      I wish this surgery has been scheduled sooner, but they did consult James Andrews, so I can't (or we) shouldn't plant this one on the Twins medical staff, as you're not going to get better advice than that.

      Definitely disappointing...though, a few reports said that the reason Sano had such a 'tough' 2nd half at New Britian last year was because of the elbow injury was already bothering him there. So that .236 average and higher K rate (still not alarming, he also increased his BB rate) could also be alleviated with this surgery - of which many of us were expecting him to 'work out' through playing.

      Which...really is the only thing keeping Sano from being the Twins every day 3B...

      If the elbow was healthy and he somehow hit .310 there last year, he's the opening day Twins 3B this year.

      So hoping this surgery will do for him what we hoped a few ABs would do for him.
      I don't believe he was going to spend much time at New Britain this year, if any. This helps a couple of guys who are in make-or-break years: Plouffe and Romero. The main downside for the Twins is in 2015. The timetable was for him to be the starer on opening day 2015. This makes that unlikely.
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