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Twins haven't ruled out Sano for wild card roster

Minnesota designated hitter Miguel Sano talks with Minnesota starting pitcher Ervin Santana while in the dugout in the eighth inning at Target Field on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. John Autey / St. Paul Pioneer Press

CLEVELAND — Now that the Twins have punched their postseason ticket, attention turns to setting the 25-man roster for a winner-take-all wild-card game Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Even though he hasn't played since Aug. 19, Miguel Sano remains an option to be included.

Twins manager Paul Molitor referenced the "Sano long shot" on Thursday, a day after the all-star third baseman took 60 swings indoors. Sano, still working back from a stress reaction in his left tibia, took swings on the field at Target Field Thursday morning and continued to build momentum.

"He had a good day," Molitor said. "I heard he was 'pain-free swinging.' That's the term that I heard. Obviously we're going to have to have a conversation (Friday) to see where he's at and get a look at him."

A simulated game could be scheduled this weekend during a meaningless homestand against the Detroit Tigers. It's possible Sano could even see game action if his leg continues to improve.

"That's definitely a consideration," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said.

What percentage would Molitor place on Sano's inclusion on the wild-card roster?

"I really don't know," Molitor said. "We've been following this story here for quite a while. There have been times when we've been more optimistic than others. He had a good day (Wednesday). It was really the first good day we've heard about in a while."

And yet, because Thursday was Day 40 of the slugger's absence, the Twins are essentially flying blind.

"The window is pretty small to try to get him ready to face this caliber of pitching after not doing it for six weeks or so," Molitor said.

Sano homered off CC Sabathia and Caleb Cotham in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium in August 2015. He has missed the past two annual trips to Yankee Stadium but is slugging .800 with five home runs and two doubles in 35 career at-bats against the Yankees, who remain the Twins' most likely opponent next week.

A Kyle Schwarber-like turn in the Arizona Fall League, where play starts Oct. 10, would not be an option as Sano has too much service time. The cutoff is one year of service time, not including days spent on the disabled list.

For Puerto Rico

During this weekend's final regular-season series, the Twins will work with La Coalicion de Boricuas en Minnesota to assist in relief for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Members of the Twins Wives Organization will accept non-perishable food items, bottled water and cash donations outside Target Field outside games 6, 29 and 34 from the time gates open until the second inning. Items collected will be shipped to those in need in Puerto Rico.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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