Sano Lands on the DL With Stress Reaction as Minnesota Twins Begin Road Trip Against Sub-.500 Teams
Take a breath, Twins Nation….yes, Miguel Sano was placed on the DL yesterday. Yes, that stinks. However, it’s not time to panic. First off, it’s only the 10-day DL. It looks as though the Minnesota Twins are shutting him down more out of an abundance of caution than for the injury itself. For those who missed it, Sano fouled a ball off of his shin during his 2 home run night on Friday against Arizona. He started Saturday’s game but was pulled in the 7th with discomfort. He sat on Sunday and was officially placed on the DL Monday. The Twins are calling it a stress reaction, which is basically a precursor to a stress fracture. Manager Paul Molitor has said he hopes to have Sano back by September, which is literally next week…and summer is over…and it’s time to start thinking Wild Card – and that’s completely crazy!
Why This Isn’t Panic Worthy
The Twins have a few things working in their favor. First of all, Sano was in a bit of a slump as of late. Although he is having the best season of his young career statistically, he is still leading the league in strikeouts. He had been less consistent over the second half of the season and had been lacking the plate discipline we saw in the first half. Secondly, Sano isn’t the only hot bat right now. Brian Dozier is on a tear with 9 homers in the last 19 games. Eddie Rosario, recent AL Player of the Week winner, is hitting .429 over his last 10 games. Also, there is help on the way in the form of Kennys Vargas. Vargas is not an every day player, but is certainly a more-than-serviceable back up in a pinch. Finally, the Twins begin an 8-game road trip today against the White Sox and Blue Jays. They follow that up with a 3-game home stand against the White Sox. Both Chicago and Toronto are well under .500, floundering in their divisions. While Sano’s power will definitely be missed, the smart move is to rest him for a potential Wild Card run in September.
Sano’s Recovery Time
The Twins and Paul Molitor have been tight lipped about when to expect Sano back. For now, it’s only a stint on the 10 day DL so fans should be hopeful that we’ll see him soon. There has been some speculation that his weight may hinder his recovery time. However, the Twins were specific that this DL stint is more about rest than recovery. With a Wild Card run possibly looming, the Twins need Sano healthy. So, while clubbies bringing fast food bags into a clubhouse may be compelling enough evidence of an out of control diet for some, it’s not enough to start the rumor train quite yet. Besides, who can turn down Chick Fil A nuggets with Polynesian sauce?!
The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Recover?
If anyone questions the health of a larger player and their ability to recover from injury, one only needs to look as far as any NFL locker room. Or, better yet, Kirby Puckett. Rookie of the Year in 1984, 10 time All Star, 6 Gold Gloves and 6 Silver Sluggers, Puckett was considered overweight for his size. Kirby’s playing weight was only 178 to Sano’s 260, but Puckett was only 5’8″. He was smaller and rounder than Sano and somehow, he climbed a center field wall gracefully. Puckett spent virtually no time on the DL in his career. And as a side note, Sano’s replacement is listed at 6’5″ and 290. Let’s hope he doesn’t eat Jack In The Box for his pre game meal. No doubt the Twins will monitor Sano’s situation carefully. They need him going forward and they need him healthy. Hopefully, it’s time to gear up for a Wild Card push.