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Article: Rundown: Twins Playing It Safe With Sano This Time


Tom Froemming
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The Twins came into camp remarkably healthy, but the one guy worth monitoring right now is Miguel Sano. He’s been in a walking boot for precautionary reasons as a cut on the back of his foot heals. While some Twins fans seem anxious to see Miguel hit the field, I say what’s the rush? Haven’t we seen enough guys rushed back from injury the past few seasons?Sano suffered a severe cut on his right foot in January. A teammate on his Dominican Winter League team slipped and spiked him him in the Achilles, requiring 12 stitches. On Wednesday night’s Twins Hot Stove Show with host Kris Atteberry, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli relayed this update on Sano:

 

“Miguel is actually doing well,” Baldelli said. “His small wound is healed up, it’s getting to the point where we’re getting ready to revisit an appointment with the specialist just to get clearance to get him out there on the field. He’s been at the field, he’s been taking part in light activity until we get this clearance. It should be here in the next day or two and we should be able to progress. He’s ready to go, we’re really looking forward to seeing him actually take the field and I don’t think we’re far away from that.”

 

While the stitches have been removed at this point and the cut is healing, it sounds like it'll be awhile yet before Sano hits the field. Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press reported Thursday that Sano is expected to remain in the boot for another week. The team seems concerned about the potential of the wound reopening.

 

Sano appears to be in great shape — he’s still able to do cardio and weight training with his upper body — and he got some extra reps in at the plate during winter ball. So again, why rush? I love this course of action the Twins are taking so far. The worst-case scenario with an extremely safe timeline is that Sano doesn’t have enough time to get ready for Opening Day.

 

So what?

 

Put him on the Injured List and let him get up to speed with a rehab assignment in the minors. Stuff like this is exactly why you have guys like Marwin Gonzalez and Willians Astudillo around. It’s a lot more important to have a healthy Sano in the fold for the long haul than it is to get him into the Opening Day lineup.

 

Rush Sano back and who knows what could happen. It could be as severe as the cut reopening or as simple as discomfort causing Sano to fall into some bad mechanical habits due to favoring that foot. Of course, the most difficult element to all this is there’s no way of knowing the perfect timeline for him. I’d bet if it was up to Miguel he’d already be out there, so you can’t really take him for his word on the recovery process.

 

It’ll be a situation they’ll have to continue to monitor, but I’ve personally had enough of the Twins pushing Sano and Byron Buxton back from injuries. Or I guess allowing those two to push themselves back from injury, whichever the case may be.

 

Remember when Sano shattered his leg in August of 2017 and played the next day? Even after the team identified the injury, they allowed him to return for three games in late September. That injury was bad enough he’s going to have to live with a titanium rod in his left shin for the rest of his life.

 

If Sano and Buxton are as important to this organization as the front office makes them out to be then they’d better make sure to put them in the best positions possible to succeed. It appears that’s exactly what’s happening with Sano’s current injury. So far, at least.

 

Rocco on Spring Games

“I think they’re really helpful. These are spring training games, but I take them serious,” said Baldelli on this week’s Hot Stove Show. “I think about them like they’re real games. What would we do in the season during these situations? I think taking advantage of this month is very important for me and for the whole staff.”

 

“You might not actually make the decision that you would make and actually put it into play, but I think talking about all the different scenarios and situations — what we want to do going forward and the decisions that I’d like to make once we hit March 28 — I think those are the discussions we have during the games and these are the discussions we have all day long over here.”

 

Free Agent Signings

Some of the biggest names left on the free agent market signed Thursday. The Blue Jays scooped up both Bud Norris and Clay Buchholz. Oh yeah, Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies too.

 

Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel remain unsigned, however, and the Twins are still being loosely connected to Kimbrel.

 

Spring Highlights

I’ll leave you with some recent highlights from spring action. First up, Martin Perez’s first outing in a Twins uniform:

Here’s Brent Rooker’s blast from Wednesday afternoon:

Action from Stephen Gonsalves:

Some Lewis Thorpe:

And finally, a nice double from Luke Raley:

 

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Rooker hits a deep dinger, and the announcer could care less. So what if he is in the middle of an interview.... show some excitement! Go Twins. 

 

 

on Sano:

"A teammate on his Dominican Winter League team slipped and spiked him him in the Achilles, requiring 12 stitches."

 

So I have now heard achilles, heel, leg ....... is this the first person observation version... the achilles, or is this another second hand relay? I have head that the stairs cut him... and now he was spiked? Stange that the whole incident has become a mystery.

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Rooker hits a deep dinger, and the announcer could care less. So what if he is in the middle of an interview.... show some excitement! Go Twins. 

 

 

on Sano:

"A teammate on his Dominican Winter League team slipped and spiked him him in the Achilles, requiring 12 stitches."

 

So I have now heard achilles, heel, leg ....... is this the first person observation version... the achilles, or is this another second hand relay? I have head that the stairs cut him... and now he was spiked? Stange that the whole incident has become a mystery.

 

I just listened to the Hot Stove podcast and Rocco described the injury as a "small wound" that's almost healed. The article in the Pioneer Press describes it as a "heel injury" and that's what Twins reporters have been saying for the past week or so. I haven't seen any article pointing to an achilles injury, so maybe Tom just misspoke in his initial post (which can be forgiven considering his posts and videos are one of the best things about this site).

 

 

 

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 “Miguel is actually doing well,” Baldelli said. “His small wound is healed up, it’s getting to the point where we’re getting ready to revisit an appointment with the specialist just to get clearance to get him out there on the field. He’s been at the field, he’s been taking part in light activity until we get this clearance. It should be here in the next day or two and we should be able to progress. He’s ready to go, we’re really looking forward to seeing him actually take the field and I don’t think we’re far away from that.”

 

While the stitches have been removed at this point and the cut is healing, it sounds like it'll be awhile yet before Sano hits the field. Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press reported Thursday that Sano is expected to remain in the boot for another week. The team seems concerned about the potential of the wound reopening.

 

These two paragraphs seem to be in direct opposition to each other, at least to me.

 

I still don't think we're being told the truth regarding Sano. A "laceration" suffered in January would have been healed by the start of spring training, for sure by now. And the story seems to morph a bit every time we hear it. 

 

Hopefully it all fades into memory, and he's on the field soon, with enough time to be ready for opening day. But I grow more a little more doubtful every day, and I am absolutely convinced there's more to this story then we've been told.

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So I have now heard achilles, heel, leg ....... is this the first person observation version... the achilles, or is this another second hand relay? I have head that the stairs cut him... and now he was spiked? Stange that the whole incident has become a mystery.

It's basically the general area where your leg meets your heel. Betsy Helfand and Do-Hyung Park have referred to it as being on his right heel area. Dan Hayes says it's the Achilles, but has also referred to it as the back of his foot. We should probably stick with what the medical professional says. Here's a quote from head trainer Tony Leo from Dan's piece at The Athletic:

 

“You don’t want to have the wound reopen. It’s not fully closed yet. We want it to be fully closed. It’s just in an area that’s bad, down there by the Achilles. We’ve got to be very protective of that area.”

 

As far as the story of how it actually, yes, I have heard it both ways. The only one to re-hash that part in their most-recent report was Park, who wrote this:

 

"Sano sustained the injury during the parade celebrating his Dominican Winter League championship with his hometown team, Estrellas Orientales. A teammate slipped on a substance on the stage and bumped into Sano, who scraped his leg on metal stairs."

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 “Miguel is actually doing well,” Baldelli said. “His small wound is healed up, it’s getting to the point where we’re getting ready to revisit an appointment with the specialist just to get clearance to get him out there on the field. He’s been at the field, he’s been taking part in light activity until we get this clearance. It should be here in the next day or two and we should be able to progress. He’s ready to go, we’re really looking forward to seeing him actually take the field and I don’t think we’re far away from that.”

 

While the stitches have been removed at this point and the cut is healing, it sounds like it'll be awhile yet before Sano hits the field. Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press reported Thursday that Sano is expected to remain in the boot for another week. The team seems concerned about the potential of the wound reopening.

 

These two paragraphs seem to be in direct opposition to each other, at least to me.

 

I still don't think we're being told the truth regarding Sano. A "laceration" suffered in January would have been healed by the start of spring training, for sure by now. And the story seems to morph a bit every time we hear it. 

 

Hopefully it all fades into memory, and he's on the field soon, with enough time to be ready for opening day. But I grow more a little more doubtful every day, and I am absolutely convinced there's more to this story then we've been told.

The Rocco quote is from Wednesday, the reporting from Betsty was from Thursday. Things changed a bit after he was evaluated. I just thought it was interesting that the field staff and front office seem to be inclined to downplay the severity of the injury while the medical team is hesitant to grant him clearance to resume baseball activities.

 

It sounds like the wound still has a slight opening, so it seems weird to me that anyone would think he'd be close to returning. I'd imagine they want that wound to close and give it some additional time to heal on top of that before they have him running around. But I'm not a medical professional. I just hope they continue to take the cautious route.

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I don't think he was "spiked."  Cut on metal stairs, required 12 stitches.

 

Sano sustained the injury during the parade celebrating his Dominican Winter League championship with his hometown team, Estrellas Orientales. A teammate slipped on a substance on the stage and bumped into Sano, who scraped his leg on metal stairs.

 

Both Sano and head athletic trainer Tony Leo characterized the wound, which originally required 12 stitches, as "80 percent" healed.-Do-Hyoung Park

 

Sano plans to get going next week, 

 

"But it's just a setback and we'll get it going next week."

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Just to clarify, and then to speculate.

 

The achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles to the calcaneus bone on the back of the foot. We call this area the heel.

 

In general, lacerations on extensor surfaces of joints (like the heel, knee, elbow, etc) are under increased tension, and have a tendency to pull apart when the joint is flexed. We often leave sutures in place much longer on these types of lacerations to ensure good skin strength prior to removing them.

 

The achilles tendon is very superficial under the skin in this area. This end of the tendon is relatively avascular (has poor blood supply), and is slow to heal from injury. The rate of wound complications and poor healing from primary tendon repair after achilles rupture is actually quite high—high enough that achilles tendon repair is falling out of favor for many orthopedic surgeons. One could imagine a non sterile, non surgical wound sustained from a cleat or metal stairs would also be high risk for complication.

 

I speculate that Sano’s heel laceration may have involved a partial tendon laceration, which is why they are immobilizing his ankle two months later. The medical team wants the tendon and overlying wound to heal fully before stressing it with the rigors of quick twitch first step moves on the hot corner. If he were to rush back, he risks a chronic heel wound, or complete Achilles’ tendon rupture.

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“Remember when Sano shattered his leg in August of 2017 and played the next day?”

 

This is needless hyperbole. His bone did not shatter (implying many small pieces.) He got hit on his shin, and had negative x-rays. Return to play was indicated. Later, after having persistent pain, a stress fracture was diagnosed with advanced imaging. This is not a surgical problem in nearly all cases, and the treatment is rest. Unless you are a 300lb athlete that cannot sit out for six months...

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“Remember when Sano shattered his leg in August of 2017 and played the next day?”

This is needless hyperbole. His bone did not shatter (implying many small pieces.) He got hit on his shin, and had negative x-rays. Return to play was indicated. Later, after having persistent pain, a stress fracture was diagnosed with advanced imaging. This is not a surgical problem in nearly all cases, and the treatment is rest. Unless you are a 300lb athlete that cannot sit out for six months...

It exploded. Blood everywhere. Oh the humanity! :)

 

But seriously, thank you for the medial insights. They are greatly appreciated.

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I  agree about not rushing him back. What about his play last season shows he would perform better than Gonzalez or Astudillo right off the bat, especially coming off an injury? See what he can do at AAA first. If he's hitting like 2017, hitch your wagon to him and go for a ride. But wait and make sure 2018 is behind him first.

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I don't see much movement on Gonsalves fastball or changeup.  It also looks like he might really be working to get downward plane on his fastball, w/ varying degrees of success.  If he is ever anything more than a AAAA SP I'd consider that a win.  Can we send Gonsalves in a package of prospects to the Mets for Wheeler before the deadline?  

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I don't see much movement on Gonsalves fastball or changeup.  It also looks like he might really be working to get downward plane on his fastball, w/ varying degrees of success.  If he is ever anything more than a AAAA SP I'd consider that a win.  Can we send Gonsalves in a package of prospects to the Mets for Wheeler before the deadline?  

 

If you can see this about Gonsalves, so can the Mets. Heck, anyone with his baseball card can flip it over and see his 6.57 ERA and just 18 strikeouts over 7 games last year. Nobody's going to give the Twins anything for Gonsalves as things stand today. His audition last year went very poorly and he's behind a lot of other pitching prospects in the organization now because of it. The Twins pitching staff has to coach him up and hopefully he'll improve. I'm not giving up on him yet, but suggesting that Gonsalves could be a major piece in a Wheeler trade is the definition of homer-dreaming.

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If you can see this about Gonsalves, so can the Mets. Heck, anyone with his baseball card can flip it over and see his 6.57 ERA and just 18 strikeouts over 7 games last year. Nobody's going to give the Twins anything for Gonsalves as things stand today. His audition last year went very poorly and he's behind a lot of other pitching prospects in the organization now because of it. The Twins pitching staff has to coach him up and hopefully he'll improve. I'm not giving up on him yet, but suggesting that Gonsalves could be a major piece in a Wheeler trade is the definition of homer-dreaming.

Zach Wheeler is on the last year of his contract.  It would be a half year rental, where I would expect the Twins to take on his very affordable salary.   I would expect to pair Gonsalves w/ another top 12/10ish type prospect, maybe add another throw in in the lower levels.  

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Zach Wheeler is on the last year of his contract.  It would be a half year rental, where I would expect the Twins to take on his very affordable salary.   I would expect to pair Gonsalves w/ another top 12/10ish type prospect, maybe add another throw in in the lower levels.  

What is the Mets motivation to sell?  They should be pretty competitive this year (projected by Fangraphs to win 84 games, 2 more games than the Twins).  If anything they should be buying come deadline time after their new GM has been stating all offseason how they are in win now mode.

 

I would think the Mets are looking to extend him too, even though Wheeler says they haven't talked to him yet.

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Gonsalves has pitched all of 24 innings in The Show. His debut was not dissimilar to Gibson's, May's, or Berrios's. Probably 80% of all starting pitchers go through the same process.

 

It's often said our favorite team can't develop starting pitching. I'm projecting 4 members of the rotation in 2020 will have been drafted and developed by the Twins. 1 Bill Smith guy and 3 of TR's.

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 “Miguel is actually doing well,” Baldelli said. “His small wound is healed up, it’s getting to the point where we’re getting ready to revisit an appointment with the specialist just to get clearance to get him out there on the field. He’s been at the field, he’s been taking part in light activity until we get this clearance. It should be here in the next day or two and we should be able to progress. He’s ready to go, we’re really looking forward to seeing him actually take the field and I don’t think we’re far away from that.”

 

While the stitches have been removed at this point and the cut is healing, it sounds like it'll be awhile yet before Sano hits the field. Betsy Helfand of the Pioneer Press reported Thursday that Sano is expected to remain in the boot for another week. The team seems concerned about the potential of the wound reopening.

 

These two paragraphs seem to be in direct opposition to each other, at least to me.

 

I still don't think we're being told the truth regarding Sano. A "laceration" suffered in January would have been healed by the start of spring training, for sure by now. And the story seems to morph a bit every time we hear it. 

 

Hopefully it all fades into memory, and he's on the field soon, with enough time to be ready for opening day. But I grow more a little more doubtful every day, and I am absolutely convinced there's more to this story then we've been told.

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If you can see this about Gonsalves, so can the Mets. Heck, anyone with his baseball card can flip it over and see his 6.57 ERA and just 18 strikeouts over 7 games last year. Nobody's going to give the Twins anything for Gonsalves as things stand today. His audition last year went very poorly and he's behind a lot of other pitching prospects in the organization now because of it. The Twins pitching staff has to coach him up and hopefully he'll improve. I'm not giving up on him yet, but suggesting that Gonsalves could be a major piece in a Wheeler trade is the definition of homer-dreaming.

I’m not very high on Gonsalves either, but if he’s looking good by midseason, I’d definitely look into dealing him (plus another B prospect) to the Rangers for Jose Leclerc; a pretty good Kimbrel alternative.

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Gonsalves has pitched all of 24 innings in The Show. His debut was not dissimilar to Gibson's, May's, or Berrios's. Probably 80% of all starting pitchers go through the same process.

 

It's often said our favorite team can't develop starting pitching. I'm projecting 4 members of the rotation in 2020 will have been drafted and developed by the Twins. 1 Bill Smith guy and 3 of TR's.

Liked your post and sort of agree with you. I think Gibson will be back barring something unusual. That makes two. Between Thorpe, Romero and Gonsalves, (and re-discovering his velocity), I think we could have three. But unless Graterol flies up the ladder, I'm stopping there.

 

Romero could, possibly, stay in the pen. Mejia wasn't drafted by the Twins, though he is being developed by the Twins, same with Littell. Jury is still way out on Stewart, IMO.

 

I am betting on Pineda or Odorizzi being retained and someone not yet with us, be it a trade or FA signing.

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Speculation alert (but feeling pretty confident about said speculation)

 

1. This injury has always been a much bigger deal than initially reported because of the location (as stated earlier)

 

2. The lack of a clear and consistent "story" (when Sano himself could have already provided a detailed account about how it happened on the record if it was so innocent and simple) and the delay in adequate care all strongly suggest that Sano and his people are less than excited about getting into details surrounding the accident. The Twins organization, who was caught off guard by the whole debacle, would also very much like to gloss over the situation.

 

3. This is yet another chapter in the increasingly frustrating narrative of Sano. (I would officially be shorting the market on him going forward at this point)

 

4. He will not be on the opening day 25 man and there is a good possibility that he will miss at least a month--if not more--- of the regular season.

 

 

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