If the underdog Minnesota Twins are going to upend the New York Yankees in Tuesday’s American League wild-card game, they’ll have to do it without one of their top home-run hitters.
Miguel Sano, the Twins’ hulking third baseman, was left off their roster for the one-game playoff, which begins 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. So it’s not just that he’s not in the starting lineup. He can’t even play.
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With Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in the other lineup, this puts the Twins at a disadvantage. Sano hit 28 homers this season, driving in 77 runs with a .264/.352/.507 slash line. Sano’s homer total was second-most on the team, so the Twins will still have power on the field. Brian Dozier led them with 34 homers and 93 RBIs. Eddie Rosario also hit 27 homers for Minnesota. But another bopper, especially in a do-or-die game, is always nice.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) October 3, 2017
This isn’t a total shock. Sano missed 38 games in the season’s final months because of a left shin injury. The Twins activated him for the final weekend of the season, his first action since Aug. 19. In three games, he was 1-for-8 with two strikeouts.
While Sano’s status was somewhat up in the air, Twins manager Paul Molitor said as recently as Monday that he expected to have Sano at least on the bench for the wild-card game with the Yankees.
“It’s been challenging trying to get him prepared in such a short window,” Molitor told reporters Monday in New York. “I think we’re encouraged that he’s going to be available tomorrow in some capacity. Whether he’s going to start or not, I still haven’t inked it in yet, but I’m waiting to have him on the bench.”
Turns out it was too much of a challenge.
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