Limited by injury, Sano slows down HR trot

Hamstring strain forces rookie to take it easy on bases

Limited by injury, Sano slows down HR trot

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins rookie slugger Miguel Sano has been nursing a mild right hamstring strain since Thursday, and has been told by the Twins coaching staff to take it easy on the bases.

It was apparent Tuesday night, as he couldn't score from second on a single to right field in the second and took his time running the bases after launching a game-tying solo homer in the seventh in an eventual 8-6 win. Sano's homer left the bat at 105 mph and traveled an estimated 400 feet with a launch angle of 30 degrees, per Statcast™ data. But it also took him 28.53 seconds to run the bases, as Sano is trying to play it smart with his hamstring.

"The home run was nice and slow," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Some of the other ones caught my attention a little bit."

The homer was Sano's 14th in his 50th game, as the 22-year-old is hitting .295/.403/.608 with 41 RBIs. Seven of his homers have either tied the game or put the Twins ahead. Sano became the fourth player in the last 10 seasons to hit at least 14 home runs through his first 50 career games, joining Jose Abreu, Ryan Braun and Evan Gattis.

But Molitor said he was mostly worried when Sano couldn't score from second on a ball hit down the right-field line from Eddie Rosario in the second, and said he'll continue to monitor Sano moving forward. Sano missed Friday's game with the injury.

"It's not bothering him to swing," Molitor said. "I was hoping to see a little bit more on the base hit by Rosario. I don't know if he's being overly careful or if that's all he's got. It hasn't bothered him to swing, so he's a tough guy to take out of there. The trainers have told me the risk is fairly minimal because of the strength and flexibility of his leg."

Sano said he's been getting treatment every day for 45 minutes before the game and 20 minutes after the game, but said he can play through the injury and could even handle playing third base, if needed. But for now, the Twins will be cautious and keep him in his role as designated hitter.

"I'm trying to not run too hard or too fast," Sano said. "I can feel it when I'm on base."

White Sox manager Robin Ventura also noticed Sano was slowed by his hamstring, and wasn't bothered by his slow trout around the bases in the seventh.

"I don't know if he was moving around all that good anyway," Ventura said. "That's the norm."

White Sox right-hander Nate Jones, who served up the homer, also said he didn't even notice Sano was slow around the bases, but complimented the young slugger.

"I mean, 3-2, I don't know how many hitters are expecting the slider," Jones said. "That's what I wanted to do with it. It just happened to be to the wrong hitter at the wrong time."

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.