Sano returns to lineup after hamstring injury

22-year-old slugger has 12 homers in 48 games

Sano returns to lineup after hamstring injury

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins rookie slugger Miguel Sano returned to the lineup against the Astros on Saturday after missing Friday's game with a minor right hamstring injury.

Sano returned as the club's designated hitter and batted cleanup, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk in a 4-1 loss. He was held out for precautionary reasons on Friday, as Twins manager Paul Molitor didn't want to risk further injury, but Sano told him before the game he felt better and was ready to return. Sano spent the early part of the day walking around the Minnesota State Fair with Byron Buxton with several promotional appearances along the way.

Buxton and Sano at the Fair

"Improvement today," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We've been monitoring him closely since he got to the park. He survived the State Fair, which was a good start. He's feeling better. It's not totally comfortable when you know the guy has the makeup that he does and you hope he gives you a straight answer, but I think that we are. I think he's smart enough even as a young man to make decisions on whether he can play in a game."

Sano has been Minnesota's best hitter since being called up on July 2, as the 22-year-old entered Saturday's game hitting .289/.394/.584 with 12 homers, 13 doubles and 38 RBIs in 47 games.

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.