Twins slugger Miguel Sano is back with the team after completing a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester, and he appears to have picked up where he left off in both good and bad ways.
The good side of the ledger is that Sano, despite some uninspiring numbers during his rehab stint, can hit major league pitching. He proved that in the series against the Texas Rangers, collecting a couple hits, including his 12th home run, and he walked four times.
The bad side of the ledger is whether he can play defense at all. Playing in the outfield should be ruled out at this point, especially after he showed in Rochester that any ball hit in the air might be a challenge for him. In one play, which spread quickly on the Internet, Sano turned a not-so-routine infield pop-up into a fixture for blooper reels for years to come. As he stared into the sky, the ball bounced off his head and was caught by another teammate. Oh, well. They got the out, right?
Struggling slugger Byung Ho Park was demoted to Rochester, and with Trevor Plouffe headed to the disabled list, Sano can be slotted into either third base or DH in the lineup. That saves him from having to play right field (Thank God). But now there’s a new question: Can he really play third base?
In the series against the Rangers, in which the Twins took two of three games, Sano, playing third, made a nice, barehanded grab to throw out Adrian Beltre in Game 1. But he also had a throwing error in Game 3 of the series and booted one in Monday’s loss to the Oakland A’s. Defensively, Sano is still a work in progress.
-It’s good to see the Twins’ young talent get recalled from Rochester and continue to show signs that they belong in the bigs. Max Kepler had a great series against the Rangers, including two home runs and seven RBIs in a 17-5 blowout win. Byron Buxton, too, tripled in that same game. Eddie Rosario, also recently recalled, tripled in the Game 1 loss to the Rangers. Now, if only pitcher Tommy Milone could bring some of that Rochester success to the Twins.
-Third baseman Trevor Plouffe is headed to the disabled list with a fractured rib. In his place, the Twins have recalled the big man, Kennys Vargas, who stands six-foot-five and tips the scales at 290 pounds. Vargas hit 14 dingers and drove in 53 runs in 82 games at Rochester.
-Reliever Kevin Jepsen is gone after the Twins designated him for assignment. Jepsen, who the Twins traded for last season, helped the team down the stretch in 2015. But this year he struggled, compiling a 6.16 ERA in 33 appearances.
-After the Twins took two of three from the Rangers and showed some pop at the plate, the bats were silenced by A’s pitching on Monday to lose 3-1. The Twins were held to four hits and remain winless versus the A’s this season (0-4). Once again starter Ricky Nolasco failed to get his fourth win and fell to 3-7 on the year. Meanwhile, starter Tyler Duffey benefited from the 17-5 blowout win over the Rangers to take the team lead in wins with four.
Nolasco left w/0 out in 7th, tied 1-1. Wonder how much faith he has in pen. Last 3 starts, 11 runs had scored when he left. 12 scored after.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) July 4, 2016
-Longview, Washington native and reliever Trevor May has been activated from the disabled list.
-Lastly, sorry for the lack of posts over the weekend. I experienced some unusual technical difficulties that appear to have been ironed out. Thanks for your patience.
Tommy Milone, a former member of the A’s, gets the ball on Tuesday.