On the heels of a dispiriting 96-loss season in the American League, the Twins now feel the sting of injuries to two of the game's premier prospects. The organization believes neither injury is serious, however.
Third baseman Miguel Sano won't play the remainder of the Dominican League season because of a strained collateral ligament in his right elbow. He appeared in two games for the Estrellas and went 1-for-5 with four walks and two strikeouts. Sano stands as the top power-hitting prospect in the minors and ranked No. 3 on our midseason Top 50 update.
Sano flew back to Minnesota last week to be examined by team doctors, according to La Velle Neal of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, before then flying to Alabama to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday.
While that sounds ominous, Andrews agreed that with the Twins' diagnosis that Sano, the No. 2 prospect in the Double-A Eastern League this year, has a strain but nothing more serious.
"I don't think it's mechanics. His mechanics are pretty sound," Twins special assistant Paul Molitor told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. "It could easily have been overwork or possibly a young kid still growing into his body. I don't think anybody has any major concerns."
Molitor has worked closely with the 20-year-old Sano as the minor league infield and baserunning coordinator. Sano, who hit .280/.382/.610 with 35 homers and 103 RBIs at two levels this season, should be ready for spring training.
Meanwhile, center fielder Byron Buxton likely will miss the rest of the Arizona Fall League season after straining his left, non-throwing shoulder, Twins director of minor league operations Brad Steil told Berardino. The BA Minor League Player of the Year and consensus top talent in the minors, Buxton hit .212/.288/.404 in 52 at-bats for Glendale.