Miguel Sano, one of the Twins' top prospects, will undergo Tommy John surgery and is likely out the rest of the season, the team announced Saturday morning.
Sano felt something in his elbow while making a throw from third to first during an intrasquad scrimmage Friday.
“He came in and they asked him, ‘How did that feel?’" Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony told the Pioneer Press. “He said he felt it a little bit on that one. So they took him out of the game and he went in to get it checked out. When he came in today it was still a little sore.”
The third baseman had an MRI later that day, and doctors discovered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament his his right arm, which requires surgery, the team says.
“He’s a little bummed out. He wants to play baseball,” manager Ron Gardenhire tells the Star Tribune. “But as I told him, you’ve just got to let [the team’s doctors] take care of it.”
The 20-year-old Sano was ranked the No. 3-rated prospect in all of baseball in 2013 by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. He slipped to fourth for this year's rankings. Sano hit .280 with 35 home runs and 103 RBI in 123 games between Class A Fort Myers and Class AA New Britain last season. Fellow Twins prospect outfielder Byron Buxton is No. 1 on both lists.
Sano was coming off an offseason of arm rest after straining his UCL in the Dominican Winter League. He played just two games in his native country. Doctors at the time determined Sano needed rest and rehabilitation – not surgery. He was not allowed to throw at all for six weeks, the Star Tribune says, and the team limited his workload during early spring training fielding drills.
Sano is scheduled to fly back to Minnesota for surgery next week, but the team has not said who will perform the operation.
Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman writes that Tommy John surgery isn’t nearly as debilitating for positional players compared to pitchers, but it would still be a major setback in the growth of one of Major League Baseball’s finest prospects.
The Twins, by the way, played their first game in the Grapefruit League Friday, blasting past the Red Sox in an 8-2 win. Chris Colabello doubled and drove in two runs for the Twins. Trevor Plouffe finished 1-2 with 2 RBI. Twins starter Mike Pelfrey worked two solid innings. He held the Red Sox to 0 runs and 1 hit, while on the mound. Brian Duensing worked a perfect third inning and struck out one to get the win. Samuel Deduno struck out three in two innings of work.
Scott Diamond will start Saturday's game against Boston. The contest kicks off at 12:05 p.m. CST.