Twins prospect Miguel Sano benched for a fourth consecutive game


On Tuesday night, Twins prospect Miguel Sano showboated after hitting a home run. As Patrick Reusse describes it, Sano “stood at the plate for a few seconds, walked out of the box, flipping the bat, and then slow-strutted around the bases.” Jeff Smith, manager of the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats, benched Sano for the ensuing game. It was thought that one game was the extent of the punishment, but Sano was again absent from tonight’s lineup, marking the fourth consecutive game his manager has held him out.

Reusse provides some back story on Sano’s showmanship:

Sano was promoted from Class A Fort Myers to New Britain on June 9 and joined the lineup on June 12. [Bobby] Lanigan was released from New Britain on June 25. During that two-week period, Sano and Lanigan had a loud confrontation as the Rock Cats were on a road trip.

The identity of the pitcher had much to do with the extra juice Sano put into Tuesday’s home run reaction. When confronted over this by Smith, notorious in the Twins’ system as a hard-nosed manager, Sano basically told Smith that he would do what he chose after hitting home runs.

Sano has continued his meteoric rise to stardom after his promotion to Double-A. In 144 plate appearances with New Britain, Sano has hit 10 home runs. Combined with his previous work at Single-A Fort Myers, he now has 26 home runs on the season, putting him two shy of last year’s total. Reusse suggests there is a chance Sano opens up the 2014 season as the Twins’ starting third baseman, batting cleanup.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.