Sano learns tough outfield lesson against KC

Twins right fielder misses ball off wall that goes for a triple in Monday's loss

Sano learns tough outfield lesson against KC

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor is willing to be patient with Miguel Sano in his first season in right field and understands mistakes will happen as Sano makes the transition from the infield.

But it was a different situation in Monday night's 10-4 loss to the Royals, as Sano didn't hustle to a ball that hit off the right-field wall and ended up as a triple for catcher Salvador Perez in the sixth inning.

Sano ran back to the wall, only to see the ball go over his head and carom hard off the wall. But instead of chasing after the ball, Sano watched it roll away from him as he jogged in slowly from the warning track, and Danny Santana had to run in from center field to get to the ball in shallow right. After an off-line throw to third, Perez was in easily for his third extra-base hit of the game.

"I think maybe he assumed that [second baseman Eduardo] Nunez or Danny were going to be in better position after he positioned himself close to the wall to make the catch," Molitor said. "But you want him to go for the ball even if you think there's somebody else to help you out. Sometimes you get caught assuming out there and it doesn't look too good."

Molitor said he planned to watch the replay of the triple after the game to get a better feel for Sano's judgment, but added that he believed Sano could've made the play before it hit the wall. Sano seemed to get turned around once he got to the warning track, and the ball didn't hit very high off the wall.

"I think he had a chance to catch it," Molitor said. "I think the one thing that has been slow in his progress is his wall comfortability. I think he has a little bit more confidence in terms of trying to close on balls hit in front of him instead of behind him."

Molitor said Sano has taken the move to right field seriously, and continues to do early defensive work with first-base coach and outfield instructor Butch Davis. The elevated wall in right field can be tricky, especially on line drives that take hard bounces off it, but Sano needs to learn how to play it off the wall better going forward and not assume his teammates will get a ball that bounces back toward the infield.

"I see him working with Butch every day on balls hit behind him and trying to get a feel for the wall," Molitor said. "But the plays where the ball gets out there quickly like the Perez ball did, I just think he loses track to where he is in relation to the wall."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. 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.