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Twins hope Sano can appear in Minor League season

Twins hope Sano can appear in Minor League season

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Twins still haven't scheduled the date for top prospect Miguel Sano's Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, but assistant general manager Rob Antony said Dr. David Altchek is likely to perform the operation.

Altchek, who is the medical director of the Mets, has performed the surgery on several Twins players in recent years, such as pitchers Kyle Gibson, Joe Nathan and Scott Baker.

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Sano, who was diagnosed with a high-grade partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament on Saturday, flew home to the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning to see his family. The third baseman had an MRI on Friday after feeling discomfort in his elbow stemming from a throw across his body in Thursday's intrasquad game.

Sano, ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect by MLB.com, is scheduled to return on Friday, and the Twins are hopeful he'll undergo the surgery the week after he returns.

"Ideally, we'd like to set something up next week, but we haven't talked to the doctor," Antony said. "It's probably going to be Altchek, but we haven't talked to him about his availability. That's who they'd like to do it and we have no problems with him."

Sano, 20, is expected to need eight months of rehab before he's ready to play again. But he's expected to be cleared to swing the bat after four months, so Antony wouldn't discount Sano seeing time at designated hitter late in the Minor League season.

Antony also added that there's a chance Sano could play in the Arizona Fall League or the Dominican Winter League if everything goes to plan.

"We're not going to rule anything out," Antony said. "We're not going to rule out DHing at the end of the season if he's up for it. But if there's any risk of irritating it or bothering it, we won't do it. So we'll have to see how he progresses. But that would be the goal that after eight months, he could play some winter ball. But the biggest thing is just having him ready for Spring Training next year."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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