The right plan? Sano switching to outfield

MINNEAPOLIS — Miguel Sano isn't scheduled to play any outfield in the Dominican Winter League, but the Minnesota Twins still are projecting him as their Opening Day right fielder.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Wednesday it was very likely Sano will be asked to convert to a position he's never played before at any level. That's because the team is not inclined to trade incumbent third baseman Trevor Plouffe, in line for a projected raise to $8 million via arbitration, even after signing Korean slugger Byung Ho Park as the primary designated hitter.

Plouffe is one of six Twins eligible for salary arbitration; the team was expected to tender contracts to all six by late Wednesday night.

"I'm not concerned," Ryan said of the Sano plan. "He's a very athletic, big man that can run and throw. We're in good shape."

Sano, who has been taking some fly balls during batting practice, recently missed 10 days with what Ryan termed an illness, but the 22-year-old hitting prodigy returned to the lineup Sunday.


"Go on down there and see him," Ryan said. "He's working at it."

Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager, said the Twins have talked to Sano, and he is on board with the plan.

"He said, 'I love third base, but you tell me where to play and that's where I'll prepare to play,' " Antony said.

Sano's season-ending weight was between 265 and 268 pounds, Antony said, but the hamstring woes that dogged him starting in late August are not a lingering concern.

"I'm hoping he shows up in spring training and he's in good shape and ready to take on the added running and stuff that goes along with playing the outfield," Antony said.

There have been no recent updates on Sano's weight, Antony said.

"We'll leave that up to him," he said. "We'll tell him what we'd like, and now it's his responsibility to do that. He's a big man. He's so thick and strong. It's not like he's got a gut, where you say, 'Hey, get yourself in shape.' He'd better be ready to go."

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