A full year removed from a surgery that inserted a titanium rod into his left shin, Miguel Sano has been focusing on his body and conditioning this offseason.
First-year manager Rocco Baldelli told Twins MLB.com beat writer Do-Hyoung Park that they've given Sano resources that will allow him to maximize his skills and talent, adding that Sano will impress people with the shape he's in.
"It's all right there, and he's made his body a priority, and coming into camp and once they lay eyes on him and have a chance to see him, they're going to be very happy with what they see," said Baldelli in a recent interview.
Sano played 12 playoff games for his hometown team Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League. he hit .222 (10-for-45) with one homer, two doubles, five RBI, four walks and 12 strikeouts.
It was just 49 plate appearances, but 12 strikeouts gave him a strikeout rate of 24.5 percent, which is well below his career-worst 38.5 percent last season with the Twins.
"The thing about Miguel is that he has an incredible amount of potential, and he's already shown his potential," says Baldelli in the MLB.com story. "This isn't a situation where we're hopeful and we're not sure what he's capable of. I feel like I do know what he's capable of, and I feel the rest of our organization does, too."
Back in September, Sano promised to come back in 2019 in much better shape.
"For me next year, I'll be OK. I'll lose weight and get in better shape. I know who I am and what I can do," he said.
Sano was listed at 260 pounds on the MLB website, but Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reported last fall that Sano's weight reached about 290 pounds last season. He dropped 25 pounds of that with Beradino saying Sano's goal was to play the 2019 season between 245-255 pounds.
If Sano is able to bounce back he could be in the middle of what could be a potent lineup, which might look something like this.
- Jorge Polanco, SS
- Eddie Rosario, LF
- Miguel Sano, 3B
- Nelson Cruz, DH
- C.J. Cron, 1B
- Max Kepler, RF
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B
- Jason Castro, C
- Byron Buxton, CF
It's a lineup with a ton of potential, but only if Sano, Kepler, Schoop and Buxton are able to bounce back from bad 2018 seasons.
Sano won't play in the Caribbean Series, which serves as the Dominican Winter League championship. Sano's team says he's not on the roster because the Twins didn't grant him permission, but Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey told the Star Tribune that they don't have power over what he does in that league.