Twins activate Miguel Sanó; Buxton returns to lineup

miguel sano
Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

MILWAUKEE ⁠— Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano has been activated from the 60-day injured list after missing nearly three months with torn meniscus in his left knee.

The Twins also put All-Star outfielder Byron Buxton back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game with the Milwaukee Brewers. After homering in the American League’s 3-2 All-Star Game victory, Buxton had sat out a two-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers while resting a right knee that received a platelet-rich plasma injection.

While Sano and Buxton returned to action Tuesday, outfielder Max Kepler was out of the lineup with a mildly displaced fracture of his little toe. The Twins described Kepler’s status as day to day.

Sano hurt his knee April 26 while celebrating the Twins’ 5-4 victory over the Tigers in a game that was decided on the final play. He played four days later but left the game early with knee pain and later underwent surgery.

“I feel really good, ready to go,” Sano said.

Buxton said he started feeling better over the weekend after getting his injection on Wednesday.

“I don’t feel no pain right now,” Buxton said. “I’ve been resting. Let’s see where it goes from there.”

Sano was batting just .093 with one homer and three RBI in 17 games at the time he went on the injured list.

But the veteran first baseman has provided plenty of punch in the past. The 2017 All-Star hit .223 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs in 135 games last season. He went deep 13 times over 53 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and had a career-high 34 homers in 2019.

The 29-year-old hit .333 with five homers and 11 RBIs, a .422 on-base percentage and a 1.217 OPS in a 12-game rehabilitation assignment with the FCL (Florida Complex League) Twins and Triple-A St. Paul.

“He’s a guy that can impact the baseball and impact a team,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ve seen him do it many times over. It seems like he’s in a good spot. Physically he’s swinging the bat pretty good.”

Plenty of Twins have stepped up in Sano’s absence. All-Star Luis Arraez leads the majors with a .341 batting average while playing both first base and second base. Jose Miranda and Alex Kiriloff also have gotten plenty of starts at first.

Sano was starting at first base and batting ninth Tuesday against left-hander Ethan Small while Miranda was at designated hitter and Kiriloff was playing right field.

“He’ll be playing,” Baldelli said of Sano. “It might not be every day. It might not be what he’s done before. But I talked to him about it. He’ll be ready to go, regardless of what’s to come. He’s going to play.”

Sano said he’s ready for whatever role he gets.

“I’m only looking for a ring like everybody’s looking for,” Sano said. ” want to see our team win the World Series. It doesn’t matter if I play or not play.”

In other moves, the Twins optioned outfielder Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A St. Paul and transferred left-handed pitcher Danny Coulombe to the 60-day injured list.

Coulombe originally went on the injured list May 28 with a left hip impingement.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.