Miguel Sano’s hometown team in the Dominican Republic will compete in the relocated Caribbean Series next week, but the Twins slugger will not be playing in it.
Sano, who joined Estrellas Orientales for the Dominican Winter League playoffs on Jan. 8 and served as the team’s designated hitter for a dozen games, has been removed from the team’s roster for the championship tournament, according to the team’s website. Sano is being dropped, the website said, because “he does not have permission” from the Twins. But Derek Falvey, the Twins chief baseball officer, said Wednesday that “we do not have jurisdiction over whether or not he plays.”
Sano reportedly will instead head to Twins camp in Fort Myers, Fla., to continue his training for the 2019 season.
Estrellas will also be without shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and outfielder Jose Siri, top prospects of the Padres and Reds, according to the team’s site, which cited objections from their major league teams in those cases, too.
The Twins’ first workout under new manager Rocco Baldelli is scheduled for Feb. 14 for pitchers and catchers, with position players not required in camp until Feb 17. But Sano, coming off an injury-marred season in which he batted just .199 in 71 games, had planned to report early to begin working with the new coaching staff.
Twins catcher Willians Astudillo, meanwhile, is listed on the roster of the Lara Cardenales, which will represent Venezuela in next week’s series. Astudillo batted .315 for Caribes de Anzoategui during the winter league regular season, but was added to Lara’s roster for the league’s championship series, and went 8-for-19 (.421) to help his new team advance.
The Caribbean Series, which pits the champions of winter leagues in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba and Puerto Rico, was scheduled to begin Saturday in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. But after street protests over Venezuela’s political crisis turned violent, the Caribbean Federation decided to relocate the series to Panama City, where games will be held at Rod Carew Stadium beginning Monday. A Panamanian team was also added to the weeklong series.
Sano played 12 playoff games for Estrellas, which won the Dominican League championship for the first time since 1968. The Twins third baseman batted .222 (10-for-45) with one home run, two doubles, five RBI, four walks and 12 strikeouts.