OAKLAND, Calif.-Miguel Sano never made it to the Bay Area. Instead, the Minnesota Twins third baseman returned to the Twin Cities on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to undergo additional tests on his troublesome left knee.
"He's continuing to complain about discomfort behind his left knee," Twins manager Paul Molitor said Friday, Sept. 21, before the Twins' late game against the Athletics in Oakland. "It seems he was getting a nerve-jolt sensation at times. It wasn't re-aggravated by playing (Tuesday). It's just kind of persisting."
Sano, who has played once since injuring his left knee on a Sept. 4 slide at Houston, struck out in all four plate appearances against the Detroit Tigers while playing all nine innings at third base on Tuesday. He is in a 4-for-50 slide that includes 23 strikeouts.
There are no current plans to send Sano back to see the New York surgeons who implanted an 18-inch-long titanium rod below his left knee last Nov. 13. Sano, then playing right field, missed a month after straining his left hamstring here at Rickey Henderson Field in May 2016.
Second baseman Logan Forsythe was out of Friday's lineup after waking up with left knee discomfort.
"His knee wasn't functioning correctly," Molitor said. "He has some inflammation in there. He doesn't really know how or why. The hills of San Francisco are our best guess."
Forsythe, a pending free agent after the season, was hitting just .194 with a .210 slugging percentage over his past 69 trips since opening September with a three-hit game at Texas.
Journeyman Gregorio Petit, who spent his first seven pro seasons with the A's, including parts of 2008-09 in the majors, replaced Forsythe in the field for the second straight game.
Rookie left-hander Gabriel Moya shook his head and smiled when asked if he planned to play back home in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason.
"Not this year," Moya said. "Too many innings."
Indeed, two more successful turns as the opener this week have pushed Moya's combined total to 76 innings over 56 outings at Triple-A Rochester and the majors. The innings total is already 30 percent higher than his 2017 total.
Moya, 23, pitched parts of three seasons for Zulia as a minor leaguer, but he's also 19 percent beyond his career high for innings, set in 2016.
Utility catcher Willians Astudillo, who turns 27 in October, has no such reservations, even after reaching the majors for the first time at midseason. Astudillo plans to return to Caribes for a fifth straight season after seeing time at four spots (catcher, first, third and left field) for them last winter.
"I will play for sure," he said after hitting six homers in 204 at-bats for Caribes last winter.
Although the Venezuelan league starts on Oct. 12, Astudillo plans to join the team around Dec. 1. Originally property of Aragua, Astudillo was included along with the Arcia brothers, Oswaldo and Orlando, in a 2014 blockbuster deal that brought back Eduardo Escobar and Avisail Garcia.
Utility infielder Ehire Adrianza will play for his godfather, manager Ozzie Guillen, on the Caracas-based Tiburones de La Guaira. After playing a total of eight games over the past three winter-league seasons, Adrianza will go home at age 29.
Petit, 33, has played 10 of the past 11 winters for Leones del Caracas, with the only exception being 2015-16. He has an open invitation to return to the club but might prefer to stay with his young family in the Houston area.
Twins assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez will return as bench coach for Magallanes, where Triple-A pitching coach Stu Cliburn will hold for the same role.
Triple-A outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. and Double-A second baseman Luis Arraez are Twins prospects who will play for Hernandez at Magallanes. Triple-A first baseman Andy Wilkins also has signed.
An MRI on Eddie Rosario's strained right quadriceps revealed no other irregularities, but it's still unlikely the left fielder will play against this season. ... Catcher Mitch Garver (concussion) was doing better, Molitor said, but it was still unlikely he would catch again this season. It was still possible Garver might get some at-bats without playing the field. ... Double-A Chattanooga manager Tommy Watkins joined the Twins as an extra coach for the three-game series with the A's. He heads west on Oct. 2 in preparation for his role as a manager in the Arizona Fall League. ... Switch-hitter Adrianza, who hit lefty and doubled against lefty reliever Blaine Hardy on Wednesday, said his ailing left shoulder was feeling a little better. It's unknown if he will hit from the right side until getting his shoulder checked out once the Twins return home late Sunday.