Rangers’ Beltre has hamstring advice for Sano
MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano was 5 years old when Adrian Beltre debuted in the major leagues in June 1998 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.So if it wasn't exactly a passing of the torch, it was still noteworthy Friday night when Sano took a hit away fr...
MINNEAPOLIS - Miguel Sano was 5 years old when Adrian Beltre debuted in the major leagues in June 1998 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So if it wasn’t exactly a passing of the torch, it was still noteworthy Friday night when Sano took a hit away from his fellow Dominican third baseman with a pretty barehanded play on a sixth-inning chopper.
“That was a nice play,” Beltre, the Texas Rangers star, said Saturday. “I was hoping he’d miss at least that one so I could get a hit or something. It was a difficult play and a really good play.”
When it was mentioned that Sano enjoys charging slow rollers in part because Beltre has made that his signature play over the years, the four-time Gold Glove Award winner smiled. Maybe Sano will patent that play as well?
“Hopefully he does, just not against me,” Beltre said. “He’s an unbelievable player. He’s got a really bright future ahead of him. Hopefully he can stay healthy because he’s going to be one of the good ones.”
In Saturday’s first inning, Sano robbed Beltre of extra bases by spearing his line drive just inside the bag at third.
At 37, Beltre has been keeping an eye on Sano’s progress from afar even as he puts the finishing touches on a likely Hall of Fame career. Beltre is from Santo Domingo, while Sano hails from San Pedro de Macoris.
“I don’t know him well, but I saw his documentary,” Beltre said of “Pelotero,” a 2012 film about young Dominican ballplayers in which Sano was featured. “That was fun to see, but I haven’t really been able to talk to him a lot.”
Like Sano, who just missed a month with the second severe hamstring strain of his young career, Beltre was plagued early in his career by the same nagging injury. Over the years, he has learned how to manage the problem and pick his spots on when to extend himself.
“That happened to me, too,” Beltre said. “It first happened when I was 20, I think. I pretty much had to live with it and learn how to play with it, learn how to manage it and not make it worse. That’s something he’s going to have to learn on his own. Hamstrings are not good injuries to deal with, especially when you play on the infield.”
After spending the season’s first two months trying to learn right field, Sano has moved back in to third base, the position he played throughout his minor-league rise. Moving to the hot corner won’t necessarily make hamstring injuries easier to avoid because of all the diving and stretching the position requires.
“Third basemen and corner infielders, we have to be on our toes every day,” Beltre said. “Every tweak we make, even though it’s not contracting, we have to be ready to go somewhere. I think that’s why corner infielders get a lot of hamstrings.”
Byung Ho Park wasted no time reporting to Triple-A Rochester after his demotion Friday.
Park was added to the Red Wings roster and was available to make his debut as soon as Saturday night at Syracuse.
“He’s there in uniform now and I appreciate that,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “He got out of here and got in there and got to work and he wants to come back. He didn’t beat around anything.”
Under the collective bargaining agreement, Park had 72 hours to report after his demotion. He will wear No. 7, perhaps in tribute to Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, one of his favorite players when he was back home in South Korea.
The Twins plan to have him split time with Kennys Vargas between first base and designated hitter.
“It will be somewhat similar to what had gone on here,” Ryan said. “We’ll try to make sure he retains that defensive ability. As his confidence began to dwindle with his offense, I think it affected his defense as well.”
TWINS SIGN THREE
Saturday marked the first day of the international signing period, and so far the Twins have signed three 16-year-old shortstops out of the Dominican Republic.
According to the Dominican Prospect League, the Twins signed Wander Valdez for a $495,000 bonus while adding Jesus Felix ($260,000) and Stamy Gabriel Urena ($130,000) as well.
That leaves about
$1.515 million in the Twins’ international bonus allotment of $2.4 million, which ranked 17th among the 30 major league franchises.
Last July they signed Dominican shortstop Wander Javier for
$4 million. Through nine games in the Dominican Summer League, Javier was batting .308 with a .654 slugging percentage in 26 at-bats.
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe was out of the lineup Saturday after hitting a game-tying homer to right the next before.
Plouffe, who was available off the bench, missed just two games with a strained groin he suffered at the end of the last homestand. With Sano’s return, Molitor can be more judicious in how he deploys Plouffe.