Phenom Sano promoted by Twins, Vargas optioned

Phenom Sano promoted by Twins, Vargas optioned

CINCINNATI -- In a surprising move, the Twins optioned first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas to Double-A Chattanooga after Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Reds. The Twins made a corresponding move before Thursday's game, and they called up top prospect Miguel Sano.

Sano, ranked the No. 9 overall prospect by MLB.com, was held out of the Double-A Chattanooga lineup on Wednesday night. He is ranked No. 2 among Twins prospects.

• What to expect: Miguel Sano

Vargas has not been able to build on his impressive rookie season, as he's hitting .245/.277/.365 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 47 games this year. He went 1-for-3 on Wednesday in his first start since June 24, as the Twins had played six straight games without a designated hitter. Vargas hit .241 with two homers and five RBIs in 18 games in his latest stint with the Twins, after being called up from Triple-A Rochester on June 8.

"It's a good fit for him to go there, because they've been hurting for a first baseman," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It gives him a chance to play first consistently and get some at-bats."

Sano could give the Twins a boost offensively, as the top prospect has been heating up for Chattanooga. Sano, 22, is hitting .274/.374/.544 with 15 homers, 18 doubles and 48 RBIs in 66 games. With Trevor Plouffe in the fold, Sano will likely be relegated to designated-hitter duty, which wouldn't help his development as a third baseman, especially after missing all of 2014 after Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

But the Twins are looking for a power bat for the middle of their lineup, and based on his track record, Sano could provide it. Sano is a career .278/.373/.564 hitter with 105 homers and 339 RBIs in 445 games in the Minors.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.