SEATTLE -- Top prospect Miguel Sano has been cleared to start his throwing program, but will be held out of game action in the Minor Leagues this season, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
Sano, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in March, had his checkup with Dr. David Altchek in New York on Monday. Everything came back fine, but the Twins are going to be cautious with Sano and won't allow him to serve as a designated hitter in the Minor League this season.
"He can start throwing, but after talking to Dr. Altchek, I don't think he'll be playing in any games this year," Antony said. "They just don't want to risk any collisions or sliding into second base and hurting his elbow. They don't want him to compete until he gets into the nine-month mark."
Sano, ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect by MLB.com, can still start swinging the bat in about a month, Antony said. There's still a chance he'll be able to play late in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, but it doesn't sound like the Twins want to take any chances with the third base prospect.
"The Arizona Fall League is out and Winter Ball, we'll play by ear," Antony said. "It's the right conservative approach. Basically, we're going to keep him in a controlled environment to bring him back up."
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.