Miguel Sano won’t join the Twins on their upcoming road trip and he is headed to the 10-day DL due to a stress reaction in his left shin, the slugger told reporters (including Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). No move has yet been announced by the team, though Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports that Kennys Vargas was removed from the Triple-A lineup today and will replace Sano on Minnesota’s 25-man roster.
Sano fouled a ball off his shin on Friday, and then left Saturday’s game early due to continued soreness (the Twins used Sano as the DH on Saturday to limit his time on his feet). The seriousness of Sano’s injury or a timetable for his return isn’t yet known.
Going without Sano’s bat for even the minimum 10 days is a blow to a Twins team that is thick in the midst of the AL wild card hunt, plus still with an outside shot at catching the Indians for first place in the AL Central. Sano is hitting .267/.356/.514 with 27 homers through 475 plate appearances, seemingly making the breakout from blue chip prospect to established big league hitter. While he’s had some good fortune in the form of a .379 BABIP and there is still a lot of swing-and-miss in Sano’s approach (a league-high 170 strikeouts), he makes little mistake when he does make contact — his 45.3% hard-hit ball rate ranks fifth among all qualified hitters in baseball this season.
Vargas will be called up to handle DH duties or perhaps spell Joe Mauer at first base, while Sano’s customary spot at third base will likely be filled by Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza. Needless to say, that’s a big dropoff in production for a Twins team that is already just middle-of-the-pack in most offensive categories, so clearly Minnesota needs Sano back soon if the team is to continue its surprising push towards a playoff spot.