Miguel Sano is set to embark on the long road back to the Major Leagues, as he is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Tuesday, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Monday.
The plan is for Sano to begin in Fort Myers and make stops at both Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester prior to his reinstatement to the Major Leagues, meaning that his return to Target Field is far from imminent. He will start by playing in partial games while splitting time between third base and designated hitter and gradually ramp up to playing full games.
Throughout this process, the Twins have focused on making sure that Sano, who sustained the right Achilles injury in January, isn't rushed back to the Major Leagues. Baldelli noted that the Twins want Sano to reach an unspecified threshold number of at-bats on his rehab assignment before he returns.
"There are times where we’ve seen guys come back, miss a ton of time and just get a few at-bats and they’re ready to play," Baldelli said. "I don’t think that’s the right thing to do for a lot of different reasons here."
With Sano avoiding strenuous activity throughout Spring Training due to the slow-healing nature of the laceration to his right lower Achilles area, a large part of the Twins' patience with his recovery is to make sure that Sano can get back to the strong physical conditioning that he had attained through a rigorous offseason of training.
Tuesday will mark two weeks since Sano was first sent to Fort Myers to begin a conditioning regimen before his progression to Minor League games. Despite Sano's lengthy period of inactivity during the start of the MLB season, Baldelli said he was pleased with the third baseman's progress and condition as Sano gets ready to return to the playing field.