MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins still have hope that Miguel Sano will return to the field this season, but manager Paul Molitor admitted that the slugger's recovery has been slower than expected after he was injured last week.
Sano was carted off the field Tuesday in Houston with a lower leg injury after sliding into second base as he attempted to advance on a wild pitch. X-rays that day were negative, and Sano was listed as day to day with a left leg bruise.
Sano, 25, had a titanium rod inserted into his left shin last offseason and was hindered by lower body injuries earlier this season.
"Progress is slow," Molitor said. "Lot of time in the training room trying to figure out how we can alleviate symptoms that are being preventative of him being able to get into some baseball activities. It hasn't gone probably like anybody expected after we got the news that everything looked good, in terms of any specific injury other than some soreness and swelling. But it's been slow."
Sano was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 1 with a left hamstring strain and was eventually sent to the Twins' complex in Fort Myers, Fla., to work on strengthening his lower body and rediscovering his swing after posting a .203 batting average through June 13. He rejoined the Twins on July 28 and found spurts of success, hitting six home runs in August and showing off improved athleticism in the field.
Molitor said Sano's left knee has been sore and he has been receiving various treatments for his entire lower left leg.
"No one's told me that we're close to shutting anything down," Molitor said. "It's just a matter of when we can return to baseball activities. I don't know if it will be the next day, the next five days. But with three weeks to go, we're gonna keep pushing, trying to see when we can get him back. We haven't given up hope that he's still not gonna play some baseball here."
Austin working his way back
Tyler Austin went through hitting drills and took batting practice before Monday's game as he continues to work through lower back tightness that caused him to leave Wednesday's game and has kept him out of the lineup since.
"He did some work and flip drills," Molitor said. "He looked pretty normal, I haven't had a chance to see how he got through that portion. But what I can tell so far, everything's been positive."
Austin was not in the lineup for Monday's series opener vs. his former club, the Yankees.