NEW YORK (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota left All-Star third baseman Miguel Sano off its roster for the Twins’ AL wild-card playoff game against the New York Yankees after he failed to fully recover from an injured left shin.
Sano missed 38 games after fouling a ball off his shin, returned as a pinch hitter Friday and was Minnesota’s designated hitter Saturday and Sunday. He was pinch-hit for in the eighth inning of Sunday’s regular-season finale after feeling discomfort in the leg. Sano went 1 for 8 with three strikeouts in the series against Detroit and finished the season with a .264 average. 28 homers and 77 RBIs in 114 games.
Kennys Vargas or Robbie Grossman likely will be the DH in Tuesday night’s game.
Luis Severino (14-6) starts for the Yankees and Ervin Santana (16-8) for the Twins.
New York kept left-hander CC Sabathia and right-hander Sonny Gray among its nine relief pitchers. Minnesota’s bullpen includes a pair of starters, Jose Berrios and Adalberto Mejia.
So without Sano, can the Twins go out and take it? They have the right stuff, as they proved post All-Star Break, to compete at the highest level. That includes having tremendous balance in their run-producing lineup, surprising power, excellent defense and heads-up base running.
In other words, doing all the little things to win a game. But will it be enough to win this game? If you’re looking for a catalyst, look no further than center fielder Byron Buxton, whose breakout second half was a difference-maker.
Take it from manager Paul Molitor when it comes to Buxton’s impact.
“Well when you have that kind of giftset it makes your options of how you can impact the game greater. When you can hit it over the fence, when you can steal a base, when you can make a throw, when you can make a catch, he just has a lot of ways to impact a game,” Molitor said. “He might not get a hit and be the most important player on the field. There’s not a lot of people that can fill that bill.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)