Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is set to have surgery to assist in his recovery from a stress reaction in his left shin, the club announced Thursday.
The decision comes one month after the Twins were eliminated from the wild-card round of the playoffs, in a game Sano was left off the roster after his lengthy attempt to rehab the injury.
Surgery on the All-Star third baseman will be performed Nov. 13 in New York at the Hospital for Special Surgery, with the procedure being handled by Drs. William Ricci and Martin O’Malley. A rod will be inserted into the bone to help strengthen his lower leg. No timetable for recovery was given, but the Twins anticipate Sano will participate in spring training and be ready for the season.
“We are optimistic that he will certainly be full go for Opening Day,” Twins General Manager Thad Levine said. “Whether or not he is on a slow track at the beginning of spring training is secondary to us. We’ll handle that responsibly when he comes in.”
The decision comes roughly one month after Sano pushed to be included on the roster for the wild-card game against the Yankees. He began to feel better during the final week of September and played on the final weekend of the regular season, taking eight at-bats, and traveled to New York with the club. But the bone had not fully healed, and Sano continued to be uncomfortable and was unable to hit with authority. So the Twins left him off the roster for the 8-4 wild-card loss to the Yankees on Oct. 3.
After waiting a month, Levine said Sano’s condition has not changed much. So Sano will have surgery, with a recovery time of six to eight weeks. Levine said Sano will remain in New York for a week or two following the surgery because a follow-up procedure is required. After that, he will begin his rehabilitation. Sano is from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, but also has a residence in New York.
“We are working with Miguel and his agent to determine the plan for his rehabilitation,” Levine said, “but the hope is that the majority of the time will be spent at our facility in the Dominican Republic and our facility in Fort Myers.”
Sano was examined by O’Malley while the Twins were in New York on Sept. 18-20. During that time, Sano saw two specialists — the other was Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina — to make sure he was on the correct recovery path. O’Malley, who works with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, and Anderson, who works with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, agreed with the Twins’ plan. That encouraged Sano to ramp up baseball activities and try to be eligible for the postseason.
But surgery was an option if Sano did not recover.
Sano, listed at 6-4 and 260 pounds, hit a career-high 28 home runs before fouling a ball off his left leg Aug. 18. He attempted to play the next day but left the game when he was unable to run.
After the Twins lost to the Yankees in the wild-card game, manager Paul Molitor said Sano had made a commitment to 2018.
“He was one of the first guys in my office after the final out,” Molitor said. “He said he was sorry he couldn’t help us and he was going to come back better than ever, and he’s going to be ready to play every day. He was emotional. [The loss] was a little hard for him to watch.”