Twins demote struggling Miguel Sano all the way down to high Class A

A year ago Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was an All-Star, a Home Run Derby participant, and one of the most feared sluggers on baseball. Now he's going back to the minors, and not to Triple-A either.

Following Thursday afternoon's loss (DET 3, MIN 1), the Twins announced Sano has been demoted all the way down to their high Class-A affiliate in Fort Myers, Florida.

"We have his best interests in mind. We're not getting what we expect from him. He's got to go down there and get to work," said manager Paul Molitor to reporters, including Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, after Sano's demotion was announced.

Sano did not play in Thursday's game and he's hitting .203/.270/.405 (84 OPS+) with seven home runs and 66 strikeouts in 37 games this season. He missed time with a hamstring injury earlier this year and has been especially bad in June, going 6 for 37 (.162) with 18 strikeouts in 40 plate appearances. Ouch. 

The demotion all the way down to high Class-A means one of two things. One, the Twins really want to send Sano a message so he gets things right. Based on Molitor's comments, that seems unlikely. Or two, the Twins want him to work with specific personnel. He'll be at the team's spring training and minor league complex in Fort Myers, where there will be no shortage of coaches and instructors to help him.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins
The Twins are sending Miguel Sano to high Class-A to work on things. USATSI

It's worth noting Sano had offseason surgery on his left leg. He fouled a pitch into his shin last August and suffered a stress reaction that never quite healed. Sano did play a few games in September to see whether he could be an option for the postseason roster, even as a pinch-hitter, but it didn't work. He was shut down and had surgery after the season.

There are no service time shenanigans here -- Sano has to spent 111 days in the minors to delay his free agency and there's not enough time left in the season to accomplish that -- and, if the front office had any plans to trade Sano, he wouldn't have been demoted all the way to high Class-A. This move tanks his trade value. The demotion is about getting him right.

In the meantime the Twins will use the surprisingly productive Eduardo Escobar at third base -- Escobar is hitting .290/.340/.564 on the season -- with Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison splitting time at first base and DH. Mauer, who has been out with a concussion, is due to return this weekend.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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