Next Monday was supposed to be the first meaningful offseason contact between Miguel Sano and the Twins, a check-in at their academy on Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, to see the progress in his recovery from soreness near his left knee.
Instead, club officials had to reach out to him Sunday after he hit a police officer with his truck during an early Sunday morning checkpoint, resulting in a broken left leg for the officer.
Sano was not charged, and has offered to help pay the medical bills. The Twins are satisfied and now Sano can get on with an offseason in which the Twins have declared him a priority in their efforts to make him a dangerous hitter again.
“Miguel has taken steps to help throughout this process,” said Derek Falvey, the Twins chief baseball officer.
“He has certainly complied with anything that has been asked of the police and otherwise.
“At this stage, this is ultimately viewed as an accident and something we want to make sure that we are doing what we can to help both Miguel and the officer down there to make sure this has a resolution.”
The Twins want to move forward into an offseason during which Sano is expected to split time between his homes in the Dominican Republic and Fort Myers, Fla., while working on his conditioning.
Sano wants to lose more weight. During an interview in September, Sano revealed that he planned to train with Yon Soriano, a Dominican track star who participated in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, and remain at third base.
“Maybe 260 [pounds], 255, 245, that’s my goal,” Sano said then.
Sano reported to spring training weighing 293 pounds, then lost a little over 20 pounds during a mid-June trip to Fort Myers to get in better shape.
The Twins aren’t fixated on his weight. General Manager Thad Levine, who also participated in a Tuesday teleconference, praised Sano for losing weight during the season and said he played well at third upon his return.
Sano’s offense — he batted .199 with 13 homers and 41 RBI — was lacking. But the Twins like Sano’s chances to bounce back if, during the offseason, he duplicates the dedication he had in June to get in better shape.
“We know what that looked like, and he knows what it felt like,” Levine said, “and I think we want to get back to that space at least, if not better.”
And Monday will be the first medical check-in with Sano since the season ended. Before his conditioning program can be activated, he has to recover from soreness near his left knee suffered on Sept. 4 after he slid into second base. He played in just one game after that, striking out four times against Detroit on Sept. 18.
“We left here with the expectation that continued rest was going to put him in the best place,” Falvey said, “and we’ll have a good idea this coming Monday when he gets a chance to meet up with some of our staff at the Dominican Academy to start down the path on the plan.”
In addition to working out with Soriano, the Twins plan to connect with Sano every week to 10 days to gauge his progress. He will make occasional trips to Fort Myers to use those facilities and meet with the staff there.
Some check-ins during the offseason will be by phone, some face-to-face, Levine said.
And, since Sano only had 299 plate appearances this season, the Twins would like for him to play in the Dominican Winter League once he’s in shape.
“We are going to know a lot more about what the next step is based upon the assessment that will be made at the beginning of next week, when we find out what his current state [is],” Levine said.
“But the goal is to get him back up to baseball shape as quickly as possible, then put him in, responsibly, a position where he can start tracking toward playing some winter ball, balancing that with extended periods of time in Fort Myers getting prepared for the 2019 season.”