The Twins’ demotion of Miguel Sano to the minors yesterday came as a surprise to many, but the slugger seems to be taking the move in stride, as Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. “It’s the decision they take and I take too,” said Sano of the demotion. “I’m not mad. They gave me an opportunity. No reason I can get mad. … I’m going to take pride of going down there and working hard so I can come back and be better.” Sano said he didn’t want to blame his struggles on his recent injury history, though it’s worth noting that he required offseason surgery to repair a stress reaction in his shin and has also missed time in 2018 due to a hamstring injury. Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said that improving Sano’s conditioning, specifically in his lower half, is part of the move, though the organization’s greater hope is to try to give Sano a fresh start in an environment where he can focus in on some areas for improvement identified by hitting coach James Rowson and others.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- The Tigers have no plans to move Nicholas Castellanos in the wake of Miguel Cabrera’s season-ending injury, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters this week (Twitter link via Jason Beck of MLB.com). Castellanos ranks among the game’s worst defenders in the outfield according to each of Defensive Runs Saved (-11), Ultimate Zone Rating (-2) and Statcast’s Outs Above Average (-10). However, the Tigers organization remains committed to improving Castellanos’ work in right, it seems. “Castellanos is our right fielder,” Gardenhire said. “We’re trying to make him a right fielder and he’s still working at it, and he’s working really hard.”
- Looking further at Cabrera’s injury, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com reports that the future Hall of Famer is expected to be able to return to baseball activities in about six months, which should leave him with ample time to prepare for Spring Training. He’ll begin his rehab work in Detroit, rather than at the team’s spring complex in Florida, which will allow him to be closer to his teammates. Cabrera is taking the injury as well as can be expected, Tigers trainer Doug Teter tells Woodbery. In a second column, however, Woodbery writes that the organization and its fans may need to concede that their former iron man, who averaged 155 games per season and made 11 All-Star teams from 2004-16, is beginning to break down and enter a decline over the final few years of his career. There’s no escaping his albatross contract, though Woodbery rightly notes that it’s also not likely to serve as a major hindrance to the club anytime soon. The Tigers are well south of the luxury tax, and given their rebuilding status, they’re not likely to spend aggressively in the next couple of winters anyhow.
- Right-hander Dylan Covey has emerged as a surprise contributor in the rotation for the White Sox just months after clearing waivers and being outrighted, writes James Fegan of The Athletic (subscription required). Covey has had unsustainable good fortune in terms of home runs, as he’s yet to allow one this season after being perhaps the most homer-prone pitcher in the Majors last season. But he’s also working with an improved ground-ball rate, better control and more strikeouts as he’s significantly upped the usage of his two-seamer to great effect. Covey has only made six starts at the big league level thus far, but he’s impressed to the point that he’ll be afforded a long leash in proving that he is capable of holding down a long-term spot in the rotation. Considering the fact that the ChiSox acquired Covey in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft (out of the Athletics organization), even if he settles in as a useful back-of-the-rotation starter it’d be a nice bonus.