Advertisement

Miguel Sanó is back in the majors, and Twins are happy to see it

ANAHEIM, Calif. — As Miguel Sanó stood on the field, bat in hand, chatting with Twins assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernández and outfielder Manuel Margot, Byron Buxton crept out from the Twins dugout.

When he reached Sanó, the Twins’ center fielder wrapped his former teammate in a bear hug from behind, enveloping the big man. Sanó then spun around and the longtime friends embraced.

For years, the two were linked, Twins fans’ hopes and dreams pinned on two of Major League Baseball’s top prospects. They both debuted in 2015, the beginning of careers that would see them each become All-Stars. But Sanó’s Twins’ career came to an abrupt end during the 2022 season for a reason Buxton is unfortunately all-too-familiar with: an injury.

After spending last season out of affiliated baseball, Sanó signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels and this weekend is facing his former teammates for the first time.

“I’m proud of him,” Buxton said. “Obviously, he had a tough road to end here with the injuries and stuff like that. … For me, to see him come out on the end that he’s at, which is a way better end, I’m very happy because he put in a lot of work to get where he could get back to playing baseball like himself.”

Sanó first injured his left knee during an April 2022 game and eventually had surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

He rehabbed and returned from the injured list on July 25, only to land on the injured list days later. He played in just 20 games in 2022, his last season in Minnesota.

“Every athlete’s nightmare is injuries, and that happened to me. But now I’m here,” Sanó said before his old and current teams played a late game at Angel Stadium. Speaking through an interpreter, Sanó said, “I’m training to be healthy and do the best … with this team. I’m very thankful.”

He spent his 2023 making sure his knee felt right, losing weight and getting ready for 2024. He told Angels reporters in spring training that he had lost 58 pounds in an effort to get healthier and stay on the field.

Though he signed a minor league deal with the Angels, he made the team out of camp and has been playing both first and third base. Coming into Friday, he was hitting .271 with one home run and five RBIs in 20 games.

Friday marked a reunion with the organization that gave him his start in professional baseball as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic.

“I was out for a long period of time without playing and I feel excited to face (the Twins) and I feel very happy,” he said. “I feel very thankful with them because they gave me the opportunity to play.”

Sanó said he remained in touch with some of his former teammates, whom he referred to as family. Buxton struck a similar tone, saying the two communicated “all the time.”

“He’s still like my brother,” Buxton said. “It’s still one of those things that you can’t change.”

And while some of Sanó’s other longtime teammates, like Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario, have found other homes, too, there were plenty of people in the first-base dugout happy to see the outgoing infielder thriving, back in the majors once again.

“He always came ready to work. He was always great in the clubhouse with his teammates and had everybody’s back every day that he was here,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s nice to see him back in the big leagues where he wants to be. He’s worked very, very hard, obviously, to get back to this point. So, there’s a lot of people that are very, very pleased for him.”

Briefly

Shortstop Carlos Correa, on the injured list with an intercostal strain, took groundballs on the field on Friday in Anaheim. Correa could return while the Twins are on their current road trip. … Class AAA St. Paul’s game was rained out on Friday, pushing closer Jhoan Duran’s rehab outing back to Saturday, when the Saints will play a double-header at CHS Field. Justin Topa is scheduled to pitch in his second rehab game for the Saints on Sunday.

Related Articles