Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sano's spring

Miguel Sano takes a throw at third base
during a spring training drill.
Miguel Sano hit an impressive home run Monday -- impressive for distance (well over 400 feet), impressive for the quality of the pitcher (Garrit Cole of the Pirates).

Impressive, too, because it seems nobody believes he really hit it that well. One of the Pirates announcers -- I think it was the old pitcher Steve Blass -- said he thought it was an infield fly when he hit it. Sano apparently told the writers the same, then laughed and pointed to his biceps.

I expect he'll be sent to the minor league side soon. He's on the 40-man roster, and he's not really competing for a major league job this spring, so the sooner he's officially optioned out the sooner the Twins are protected from starting his service time with a DL stint should he get hurt.

The early exhibitions have marked Sano's first game action in more than a year, since his elbow started barking at him and eventually led to Tommy John surgery a year ago. He's apparently shown some rust afield with a couple of errors; he's also prompted the writers to issues some admiring tweets for sharp defensive plays.

He's a big man, is Miguel Sano, bigger than most third basemen, and his bulk leads to a lot of speculation about whether he can play third in the majors. But he's also mighty big for an outfielder.

One thing we haven't seen at all this spring is any serious sign of a position shuffle to prepare for his ascension to the big club. Sano's a third baseman. Trevor Plouffe is the incumbent at that spot, While Sano's been spotted making flip throws as a first baseman during pitchers fielding practice, manager Paul Molitor and general manager Terry Ryan continue to say Sano's a third baseman -- and moving Sano to first wouldn't shift him to a vacancy anyway. Meanwhile, there's been no indication that Plouffe has been asked to brush up the outfield skills he spent spring training 2012 polishing.

These things have a way of working themselves out. My guess is that this one will work itself out with Plouffe getting traded. But that's some time away from happening.

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