Sano likely to be back in lineup tonight

Sore right ankle improving, but held out Tuesday

Sano likely to be back in lineup tonight

ANAHEIM -- The Twins received good news on designated hitter Miguel Sano, as his sore right ankle has improved since Sunday and he could join the lineup on Wednesday.

Sano, who sustained a mild ankle sprain after stepping on a baseball during batting practice on Saturday, was held out of the lineup on Tuesday, but he was able to run and take swings in the cages without any issues before the game.

Sano, ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, also missed Sunday's game in Oakland, but said he's hopeful he'll play on Wednesday. The 22-year-old rookie is hitting .326/.434/.558 with two homers, two doubles and nine RBIs in 13 games. With Sano out of the lineup, Eduardo Nunez started at DH and batted sixth in the series opener against the Angels.

"It feels better," Sano said. "I ran a little bit today and in the outfield and did some hitting. It feels better than yesterday and two days ago. Probably tomorrow I can play."

Twins manager Paul Molitor was also encouraged by Sano's improvement, but said he ultimately decided to keep the rookie out of the lineup Tuesday because Sano still felt slight discomfort while taking batting practice.

"The good news is there has been a lot of improvement over the last 48 hours," Molitor said. "I had to hold off just in case there was an outside chance he was able to DH today. But he's walking around much better. He did a little bit of running and got into the cage and hit off the tee and did some flip drills. He took some live BP, which didn't go quite as well, but it wasn't a setback. Just a little discomfort, so it didn't make sense for him to get back in there today."

• Fellow top prospect Byron Buxton is also continuing to rehab his sprained left thumb, and will be evaluated this week with hopes he could start baseball activities by the end of the week, Molitor said. Buxton, ranked the No. 1 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 26. He's still a few weeks away from returning, as he'll also need to go on a rehab assignment.

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.