|Miguel Sano gestures after his eighth-inning|
home run Friday in Washington.
In his last nine games he has lifted his batting average from .125 to .263 and his home run total from 0 to 3.
This is hardly a novel concept: It's a lot easier to live with Sano's shoddy fielding in right when he's being a force at the plate than when he isn't. For eight games he gave the Twins almost nothing at the plate. That has changed.
Sano's re-emergence as a hitter is particularly important right now because the Twins are in their longest no-DH stretch of the season, five games. No DH effectively means either Joe Mauer or Byung Ho Park has to be out of the lineup. And with the usual cleanup hitter, Trevor Plouffe, sidelined, the lineup is further thinned.
Paul Molitor is reluctant to move Sano back to third while Plouffe is out, and I agree. Sano was regarded as a weak third baseman as a minor leaguer, and he hadn't worked at the position since leaving winter ball until Plouffe went down and the Twins were temporarily without a reserve infielder. Yes, Sano has more experience at the hot corner than in the outfield, but the evidence that he's got a true defensive position is more slender than Byron Buxton.
It is reasonable for the Twins to believe that Sano has to regard himself as an outfielder for his current position to take hold. Shuffling him back and forth isn't going to hasten the process.