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updated: 3/3/2014 11:02 PM

Reeling Twins suffer big-time setback

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  • Twins top prospect Miguel Sano will miss the season with a right elbow injury.

      Twins top prospect Miguel Sano will miss the season with a right elbow injury.
    Associated Press

 
 

The losses continue to mount for the Minnesota Twins.

Not only has this once competitive franchise dropped 291 games over the last three seasons, the Twins have lost prized prospect Miguel Sano for the season.

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Sano, a 20-year-old third baseman, was initially diagnosed with a right elbow issue in October. Minnesota was hoping rest and rehab would solve the problem, but Sano is now scheduled to have season-ending Tommy John surgery.

"It's disappointing for the organization, but it's more disappointing for the player," Twins vice president Rob Antony told the Star Tribune. "Everybody has to deal with some adversity in their career, and this is a setback for him. But hopefully he'll get this taken care of, he'll come back healthy and strong, and he'll be in big-league camp next year at (age) 21."

Minnesota still has center fielder Byron Buxton, widely regarded as the best prospect in baseball. But they were also counting on Sano, who hit 35 home runs last season with Class A Fort Myers and AA New Britain.

Critics are wondering why Sano didn't have reconstructive elbow surgery when the injury surfaced in October.

"He would have maybe been ready at the very tail end of the regular season (with surgery)," Antony said. "Without it, he might not have missed any of the season. If we can avoid it, let's avoid it."

Sano said he felt fine at the start of spring training, but the elbow pain returned during Minnesota's intrasquad game last Thursday when he charged in from third base to field a groundball and rushed his throw to first.

"You start to gain some optimism, maybe this is going to work out and he won't need (surgery)," Antony said. "But when something happens and he has a setback like that, you have to deal with it."

Swisher eases in:

After a disappointing debut with the Cleveland Indians last season, Nick Swisher changed things up this spring.

Swisher, who played for the White Sox in 2008, batted .246 with 22 home runs and 63 RBI in 145 games with the Indians last year. Considering he joined Cleveland on a four-year, $48 million contract, the numbers were not acceptable.

So, at his own request, Swisher sat out the Indians' first three Cactus League games.

"It's not a big deal," Swisher told the Chronicle-Telegram. "I didn't really think about it. I just said, 'Hey, man, let's give myself a week to get into spring training and then let's start playing some games.' I don't know, man. You guys are looking way too into it, man. Go to some other clubs, see how they do it."

Verlander ready to go:

After having groin surgery in January, standout Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander was expected to open the upcoming season on the disabled list.

Now it looks like Verlander is going to be ready to break camp on Detroit's active roster. He is scheduled to make his first Grapefruit League start Thursday.

"The feeling from the get-go was that, because of the shape he keeps himself in, this was a guy that might have the ability to be back in time for the start of the regular season," manager Brad Ausmus told the Detroit News. "It seems like he's on track for that right now."

Moustakas on early roll:

Looking to live up to his early all-star potential, Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hit 2 homers and drove in 6 runs in the first four exhibition games.

After batting .233 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI last season, Moustakas played winter ball in Venezuela.

"I wasn't really sure I was for it," Royals manager Ned Yost told reporters. "That was all him. A 162-game schedule is a long year. He was battling some calf injuries; he'd been beat up.

"For these guys that play every day, the winter is valuable to sit back and get your body back in condition. But he's much more confident. He's got a very definitive plan every time he walks up to that plate and adjusts his plan according to the count, which he didn't do a whole lot last year."

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