MAY 2: Surgery is on the table for Sano, who officially went on the IL this morning with a left knee sprain, according to Baldelli (Helfand link). The Twins will make the determination of whether a procedure is necessary this week. If Sano were to go under the knife, he’d still be expected to return this season, tweets Joe Trezza of MLB.com.
MAY 1: The Twins will be placing first baseman Miguel Sano on the 10-day injured list, manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters (including Betsy Helfand of The St. Paul Pioneer Press). Sano is dealing with a sore left knee. Catcher Jose Godoy will also be optioned to Triple-A, so the Twins will get their roster from 28 players down to 26 by tomorrow’s deadline.
Sano has missed four of Minnesota’s last five games with the injury, suffered during the game-ending rundown in the Twins’ 5-4 walkoff win over the Tigers on Tuesday. After sitting out three games, Sano was the starting first baseman Saturday but was removed from the game during the seventh inning.
A timeline isn’t yet known for when Sano might be able to return to the lineup, but this absence could serve as something of a reset to his 2022 season. Sano has been ice cold at the plate, hitting only .093/.231/.148 over his first 65 plate appearances. As horrific as those numbers look, Sano has also been rather unusually unlucky, with only a .121 BABIP and a .196 wOBA far below his .344 xwOBA. Sano’s xwOBA is actually above the league average, and his hard-contact numbers (hard-hit ball percentage, barrel percentage) and walk rate have all been excellent.
Though this indicates some hope Sano can rebound once he returns from the IL, the Twins will be shorthanded at first base in his absence. Alex Kirilloff would normally take over the corner but Kirilloff is himself injured, currently on a minor league rehab assignment for a wrist issue. If losing Sano and Kirilloff wasn’t enough for the Twins, Kyle Garlick also left today’s game due to calf tightness, so Minnesota might also have a gap to fill in the outfield depth chart.
Luis Arraez had never played first base prior to this season, but the utilityman has been filling in for Sano this week and looks like Minnesota’s top choice as the temporary replacement. Baldelli also suggested that third baseman Gio Urshela or catcher Gary Sanchez could get some work at first base. Urshela has played a handful of games at the position during his career, while Sanchez has played three games as a first baseman during his pro career (and none since 2017).