Minnesota Twins activate Miguel Sano upon return from knee surgery

MILWAUKEE -- Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano has been activated from the 60-day injured list after missing nearly three months with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

The Twins also put All-Star outfielder Byron Buxton back in the lineup for Tuesday night's game with the Milwaukee Brewers. After homering in the American League's 3-2 All-Star Game victory, Buxton sat out a two-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers while resting a right knee that received a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Sano hurt the knee April 26 while celebrating the Twins' 5-4 victory over the Tigers in a game that was decided on the final play. He played four days later but left the game early because of knee pain and later underwent surgery.

"I feel really good, ready to go," Sano said.

Buxton said he started feeling better over the weekend after getting his injection on Wednesday.

"I don't feel no pain right now,'' Buxton said. "I've been resting. Let's see where it goes from there.''

Sano was batting just .093 with one homer and three RBIs in 17 games at the time he went on the injured list.

But the veteran first baseman has provided plenty of punch in the past. The 2017 All-Star hit .223 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs in 135 games last season. He went deep 13 times over 53 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and had a career-high 34 homers in 2019.

The 29-year-old hit .333 with five homers and 11 RBIs, a .422 on-base percentage and a 1.217 OPS in a 12-game rehabilitation assignment with the FCL (Florida Complex League) Twins and Triple-A St. Paul.

"He's a guy that can impact the baseball and impact a team,'' Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "We've seen him do it many times over. It seems like he's in a good spot. Physically, he's swinging the bat pretty good.''

Plenty of Twins players have stepped up in Sano's absence. All-Star Luis Arraez leads the majors with a .341 batting average while playing both first base and second base. Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff also have gotten plenty of starts at first.

Sano was starting at first base and batting ninth Tuesday against left-hander Ethan Small, while Miranda was at designated hitter and Kirilloff was playing right field.

"He'll be playing,'' Baldelli said of Sano. "It might not be every day. It might not be what he's done before. But I talked to him about it. He'll be ready to go, regardless of what's to come. He's going to play.''

Sano said he's ready for whatever role he gets.

"I'm only looking for a ring like everybody's looking for," Sano said. "I want to see our team win the World Series. It doesn't matter if I play or not play.''

In other moves, the Twins optioned outfielder Gilberto Celestino to Triple-A St. Paul and transferred left-handed pitcher Danny Coulombe to the 60-day injured list.

Coulombe originally went on the injured list May 28 because of a left hip impingement.