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The Miguel Sano injury situation trudged through Day 18 on Tuesday without much of an update as the Minnesota Twins prepared to open a quick two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“(It was) more of the same today,” manager Paul Molitor said. “(He) ran the bases. Still, from my vantage point, we’re not seeing max effort, which we’re going to need to see. He’s swinging the bat fine. It’s just going to making sure he can do everything he needs to on a baseball field and play a position defensively.”
That pretty much falls in line with Molitor’s comments on Monday, where he said Sano was not “very close” to returning.
But whether that’s 7-to-10 days — or perhaps longer — the Twins have stomached a lack of offense without Sano for too long.
That’s not an indictment on Eduardo Escobar, the team’s erstwhile third baseman while Sano has been down. Coming into Tuesday’s game, Escobar is hitting a very Sano-like .274/.329/.548 with seven homers in 34 games.
That’s a 34-homer pace for 162 games — six more than Sano’s career-high of 28, set last season.
The issue has come at shortstop, as Escobar has slid over and left the spot open for Ehire Adrianza. Adrianza did a fine job as a utility player in 2017, but is clearly stretched as a regular. He’s hitting just .229/.295/.286 through 78 plate appearances this season, a little less than half the number he took last year (186) when he hit .265/.324/.383 and filled in capably all over the diamond defensively.
That’s not to say that Adrianza doesn’t have a spot on the 25-man roster of a winning club. He provided the Twins with a win of value — per Fangraphs’ WAR metric — last season. But if the idea was that Adrianza was only going to fill in briefly while Sano recuperated, it’s quickly becoming clear that’s no longer the case.
Sano’s roster spot was filled by 33-year-old journeyman Gregorio Petit, who prior to 2018 had cups of espresso with the A’s (2008-09), Astros (2014), Yankees (2015) and Angels (2016), but had only once played more than 40 games in any big league season. Even by virtue of a strong six-game stretch with the Twins where he’s hitting .429, he’s still just a career .255/.297/.355 hitter.
As a temporary move, adding him to the 40-man roster — and putting Ervin Santana on the 60-day DL as a corresponding transaction — was defensible. But now it seems like it’s time to take a broader look at the road ahead.
It’s time to promote infield prospect Nick Gordon.