The home run that got Miguel Sano benched

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Twins prospect Miguel Sano hasn’t played the last two days after being benched as a result of his antics during this home run Tuesday in Double-A New Britain’s game against Portland.

Apparently, New Britain manager Jeff Smith had two problems with the homer. First, it was the pause Sano did a couple of steps away from home plate that was mostly missed by the video. The other issue was the slow jog around the bases. The homer is hit at the 34 second mark in Tbautos512’s video, and Sano doesn’t come around to touch home plate until the 1:03 mark. That 28-29 second trip is David Ortiz territory; while Ortiz averages 28 seconds around the bases on his home runs, according to Tater Trot Tracker, no one else in the majors tops 26 seconds.

The Twins haven’t announced when Sano will be back in the lineup, though it figures to happen this weekend. The Pioneer-Press’s Mike Berardino notes that another one of the  Twins’ best prospects, Eddie Rosario, was benched for a similar offense earlier this season.

Sano, 20, is hitting .294/.390/.621 with 26 homers and 76 RBI in 327 at-bats between Single-A Fort Myers and New Britain this season.  His homer Tuesday was his fourth in six games.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉