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Twins’ Sano returns to camp, healing and in ‘good spirits’

Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano (22) rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday night. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

FORT MYERS, Fla. — When Miguel Sano returned from his visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, there was a box waiting for the third baseman at the Twins’ spring training complex.

In it, a new pair of multi-colored shoes, which Sano opened Wednesday, March 13, and inspected. But the shoes will have to wait a bit to be broken in as Sano is expected to remain in his walking boot until the end of this month.

Sano, who had a debridement procedure last week to clean up the cut on his lower right-Achilles area and re-stitch it, was pleased to rejoin his teammates in Florida after spending six nights at the Mayo Clinic.

“I belong here,” Sano said. “This is my family. These are my teammates. I’m just happy to be back.”

They’re glad to have him back, too.

“He seemed like he was in pretty good spirits,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Actually, I’m just happy to see him and get him into camp with the rest of the group. From my point of view, in addition to him getting the treatment he needs, the most important thing is getting him back with the guys.”

He came back sporting a new boot, a Multi-Podus System, which appeared to be less bulky than the protective walking boot he wore earlier in camp. It has about 15 degrees of plantar flexion, team trainer Tony Leo said.

“What that does is take the tissue stress off of the incision site so that there is no tension pulling on there so it can heal properly and be exactly the way we want it to be,” Leo said.

The Twins are hoping that the five stitches can be taken out by March 29, at which point Sano can discard the boot and start ramping up his activity.

Then, Leo said, they could be “more aggressive” about getting him back on the field, though the Twins still aren’t expecting to get their third baseman back until May. Once the cut is healed, Sano will have to go through a condensed spring training-like program to make sure he can handle the demands that will be placed on his body during games once he returns.

“It was difficult,” Sano said of hearing the timeline would keep him out past Opening Day. “It was disappointing at the time, but I understood the process. I went through it and now I’m back and want to get to 100 percent to start working and support my team.”

When Sano first suffered the injury during a victory parade for his Dominican Winter League team, he didn’t think it was going to become such a big deal. The cut, which hasn’t been causing him pain lately, required 12 stitches. Then, when he reported to Florida, he had a low-grade infection, which the Twins quickly cleaned up.

But after a couple of weeks, the healing process had stagnated to the point where the Twins decided they needed to go ahead and send him back up to Minnesota to get the wound looked at.

While he has been dealing with his injury, he has been limited to upper-body activity this spring, and he will continue to do those workouts as he waits for the boot to come off. He hasn’t yet been able to show off the results of all the conditioning work he put in this offseason on the field, and though he said it’s easy to be frustrated, he’s trying to think positively.

“It’s a long season. I’m going to miss spring training. I’m probably not going to start with the team right away. But I want to support the team,” Sano said. “Five months, four months, whatever the time is, whenever I get back, I’m going to support the team and help for that period of time.”

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