MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Sano is finally back in the big leagues.
After missing the first 41 games of this season with a right heel injury, the third baseman was called up from Triple-A Rochester ahead of Wednesday’s series finale against the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field. He did not play in the Twins’ 8-7 win.
“Physically, I feel really good,” Sano said. “It’s a beautiful year for us, and the team is winning a lot. I’m here to play and help the team, too.”
Sano will replace catcher Mitch Garver on the active roster. Garver was placed on the 10-day injured list with a high ankle sprain suffered in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Angels.
“He’s not going to be in the lineup today, but we’re excited to have him back,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Sano. “It’s been a long time coming. He’s obviously worked very hard to get to this point.”
Sano rejoins the Twins after hitting .316 with two home runs and four doubles in 10 games across three different minor league affiliates.
“We are very thorough and try to talk about all options, and we also wanted to do what’s best for Miguel,” Baldelli said. “If we thought he needed more at-bats and more time we would’ve certainly given him more at-bats before calling him back up. We think he’s ready to go, and here he is.”
More than anything, Baldelli is excited to get to see Sano up close and personal. He’s watched him from afar in the past and described him as an “ultra-talented talented” player, particularly at the plate.
“There are guys that have been waiting very patiently to see this guy out on the field,” Baldelli said. “He can do things that, looking around baseball, it’s a very unique talent that other people can’t do. That makes it fun to watch Miguel Sano play.”
As for Garver, an MRI scan revealed some good news in the grand scheme.
“We will probably stay away from getting too specific on length of time that he could be out,” Baldelli said. “It is something where it could be shorter rather than longer.”
Talking to reporters before Wednesday’s game while wearing a walking boot on his left foot, Garver said he was feeling a little sore after being injured in the ninth inning Tuesday night.
On the play, the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani slid into home plate, which Garver was blocking with his left foot after receiving a throw from center fielder Byron Buxton. Garver tagged out Ohtani to preserve the Twins’ lead.
“After watching the video, I do see him lean over and pat me on the shoulder,” Garver said. “That’s a really nice thing to do. He didn’t have to do that at all. It was a clean slide after looking at it. That’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to slide right into home plate. That’s the way it works out.”
There was no bruising, according to Garver, and inflammation was minimal.
“Like I said, best-case scenario for a situation like this,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse. It’s a tribute to our training staff for giving me the training I need to keep flexible ankles and strong ankles and hopping on it early and getting me taken care of last night.”
Hildenberger sent down
The Twins optioned Trevor Hildenberger to Triple A Rochester after another rough outing by the right-handed reliever.
A corresponding move is expected in the next 24 hours.
The decision on Hildenberger was made about 30 minutes after Wednesday’s game.
Hildenberger entered the game in the top of the ninth inning with the Twins leading 8-4 and allowed three hits and three earned runs. He recorded one out before being pulled for Mike Morin, who got designated hitter Shohei Ohtani to ground out with the bases loaded to end the game.
Hildenberger is 2-2 with an 8.36 earned-run average over 14 innings this season.
“We talk about players all the time having the ups and downs of a long season,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He is a guy that has the experience and has had a bunch of success at the big league level. I think he’s an adjustment or two away from being the Hildy that we know he is. I don’t want to take away anything from what he’s done in the past. I don’t see him being far away from continuing to help us.”