Error in RF something Sano can learn from

Former third baseman transitioning to outfield with Twins

Error in RF something Sano can learn from

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite making 11 starts in right field during Grapefruit League play, Miguel Sano hasn't been tested much at his new position. But that changed in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Yankees, as Sano -- a former third baseman -- couldn't handle a line drive near the right-field foul line for an error that helped key a three-run inning.

With runners at first and second with nobody out in the third, Ben Gamel hit a catchable line drive to right field, but it hit off Sano's glove as he tried to make a running catch to load the bases. Twins manager Paul Molitor said outfield instructor Butch Davis talked to Sano about the play as he came off the field, and that he believes the experience will make him better going forward.

"For as many innings he's been out there, there haven't been too many balls that have challenged him," Molitor said. "That ball was tailing from him and he closed on it fairly well. I didn't watch the replay, but my thought is sometimes you think about the guys on base rather than just catching the ball."

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Molitor added that he was almost happy to see it happen, as it's something Sano can learn from before the regular season starts two weeks from Monday.

"In a little bit of a twisted way, I'm kinda glad," Molitor said. "You're kind of on your own out there. You get plays and sometimes they don't go your way, especially if you're learning the position. But I think that's how you get better."

Veteran right-hander Ervin Santana, who was pitching when Sano made the error, said he didn't talk to Sano about the play, but he had a similar take to Molitor's.

"It's part of the game," Santana said. "But it's better to happen in Spring Training than during the season. That's why we're here, to work on things and fix things. So it's good to happen now so he can recognize it and work on it. But I'm a positive guy. I don't think like, 'Oh my God, don't hit it there.' If it happens and they hit it over and he makes a mistake, I want them to hit it over there again. He'll make the adjustment."

Worth noting

• Center fielder Byron Buxton, who hadn't played since March 13 due to flu-like symptoms and Saturday's rainout, returned to action and went 1-for-3 with a double off the wall in left field. He's scheduled to serve as designated hitter on Monday to get more at-bats.

"There was a little bit of a layoff so I was expecting to see rust today, but it was nice to see him get that hit," Molitor said.

• Molitor was impressed by reliever Ryan Pressly, who tossed a scoreless ninth inning with a strikeout. His fastball was up to 97 mph, and he has showed no ill effects after missing the second half of last year with a torn lat muscle.

"I'm a fan," Molitor said. "I like how he throws the ball. I like how he handles himself. And he's got pitches."

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.