The ‘new Miguel Sano’ arrives at camp slimmed down
FORT MYERS, Fla. — For years, Miguel Sano’s conditioning has been the focal point of plenty of chatter.
Often, it wasn’t good chatter.
It has picked up again this offseason and carried into the spring, but this time it’s for all the right reasons as a noticeably slimmed-down Sano arrived at camp Sunday, Feb. 17.
The “new Miguel Sano,” as he referred to himself, might have to wait a bit longer to join his teammates in all spring activities after suffering a cut on his right heel while in the Dominican Republic, but he drew rave reviews for his conditioning.
“We’re going to basically get it looked at first, then make a determination as far as timetable and see where he’s at,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Otherwise, besides that, he looks great. He looks as good or better as we ever could have hoped coming into camp.”
Strength and conditioning coordinator Ian Kadish said Sano’s transformation began last June when the Twins sent him down to Class-A Advanced Fort Myers to reset.
Kadish assessed Sano in the Dominican Republic this offseason. He gave him an offseason program and the two communicated weekly through WhatsApp, FaceTime and videos that Sano sent along.
“He realized he needed to make the commitment to himself long-term, and he did,” Kadish said. “It’s still unfolding and it’s still putting in the effort and the work, and I think it’s just the start for him. I’m really excited to see how well he can perform and stay healthy and contribute to the club throughout the entire course of the year.”
Baldelli, who went down to visit Sano in the Dominican Republic, said the third baseman was “extremely engaged” this offseason with his workouts.
The results were evident.
“He worked really hard, and I think he’s really happy and proud of the way he approached the offseason,” Baldelli said. “When you see him … you’re going to see this guy spent a lot of time on his body and made it a focus of his winter.”
On his own initiative with permission from the Twins, Sano, who appeared briefly this offseason in the Dominican winter league, added yoga into his routine to increase his mobility.
As someone who hadn’t done yoga before, the first two weeks were difficult, he said, but after that, he started getting more comfortable with it.
“I feel better,” he said. “I worked really hard and I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and a lot of agility stuff and a lot of lifting so I feel really different from last year and I hope this year can be really good for everybody here.”
He also refined his eating habits, with his sister serving as his nutritionist. He said she would probably come with him to Minnesota once the season started.
Sano spent the offseason eating plenty of fish, chicken and steak, occasionally eating pork.
“We won’t have something if it’s not good nutrition,” he said.
Now, when Sano’s heel heals, it’s time to see whether the new diet and training routine will provide the results on the field that Sano and the Twins are depending on.
After an all-star season in 2017, Sano regressed last year, hitting .199/.281/.398 while battling injures and dealing with his weight. For the Twins to be successful this year, they will need rebound performances from Sano and Byron Buxton.
If the offseason is any indication, they’re on the right path.
“New year, 2019, everything’s in the past,” Sano said. “It’s just good to see something different for now and the new Miguel Sano. We’ve got a great team, so we look at the positive stuff, so the negatives we’re leaving in the past.”