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Twins prospect Miguel Sano benched for a fourth consecutive game

Jul 27, 2013, 8:20 PM EDT

Miguel Sano AP

On Tuesday night, Twins prospect Miguel Sano showboated after hitting a home run. As Patrick Reusse describes it, Sano “stood at the plate for a few seconds, walked out of the box, flipping the bat, and then slow-strutted around the bases.” Jeff Smith, manager of the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats, benched Sano for the ensuing game. It was thought that one game was the extent of the punishment, but Sano was again absent from tonight’s lineup, marking the fourth consecutive game his manager has held him out.

Reusse provides some back story on Sano’s showmanship:

Sano was promoted from Class A Fort Myers to New Britain on June 9 and joined the lineup on June 12. [Bobby] Lanigan was released from New Britain on June 25. During that two-week period, Sano and Lanigan had a loud confrontation as the Rock Cats were on a road trip.

The identity of the pitcher had much to do with the extra juice Sano put into Tuesday’s home run reaction. When confronted over this by Smith, notorious in the Twins’ system as a hard-nosed manager, Sano basically told Smith that he would do what he chose after hitting home runs.

Sano has continued his meteoric rise to stardom after his promotion to Double-A. In 144 plate appearances with New Britain, Sano has hit 10 home runs. Combined with his previous work at Single-A Fort Myers, he now has 26 home runs on the season, putting him two shy of last year’s total. Reusse suggests there is a chance Sano opens up the 2014 season as the Twins’ starting third baseman, batting cleanup.

  1. elwaysagenius - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Seems like he needs more than just a benching, and to think Bryce Harper developed a bad rep in the minors

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      It’s called Cadillacin’, Manny use to do it, Manny being Manny.
      I recall a pitcher once saying if a guy takes me out he deserves
      to do what he wants. I also know if you did that to Bob Gibson,
      Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens to name a few they would drill your ass.
      I don’t think it’s a BIG deal but that kid better know he can get himself
      and the other guys on the team in deep doing that in the BIGS.
      Now lets talk about the manager, 4 games seems like there is a pissing
      contest, did they win the games and how long is he going to stick to his guns.
      I hope it ends well for the Twins fan.

  2. largebill - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Sounds like this manager is part of the problem. You have to respect authority, but people in positions of authority have to know how to reach players from all sorts of backgrounds. Seems some managers can only relate to scrappy, “over-achieving” utility infielder types. In Cleveland we lost Brandon Phillips to the Reds because Eric Wedge decided he had a bad attitude. Though an Indians fan, I currently live in Cincinnati area and have seen first hand that Phillips is the furthest thing from a bad attitude type.

    • Reflex - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Maybe, but showing up a player like that, one who you specifically clashed with previously when they were a teammate…

      Seems like there is a serious attitude problem. And to be fair, Phillips did have a serious attitude problem as a prospect, his maturity coincided with his rise to stardom.

  3. stabonerichard - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Remember Bryce blowing a kiss?

    Not saying you ignore this stuff that happens with the young guys in the minors, but you also don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill. How many games do they want to sit him before it’s legitimately stunting his development as a player?

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Yes I remember, but I don’t remember the story where his manager told him to cut it out to which Harper replying that he will do as he pleases.

      You’re a professional baseball player, recently called up to AA, and your manager tells you he wants more hustle around the bases.

      You hustle around the bases. You don’t tell him you will do as you please

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:25 PM

        was this about hustling or Cadillacin?

    • thebadguyswon - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      Totally agree with Richard. This is bordering on ridiculous.

    • Cris E - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      Sano had his “blowing a kiss” moment back in April. In one at bat the other team threw at him several times, including behind him, and he ended the at bat with a homer. He came around third yelling into their dugout about respect (while *running* around third, I guess) and there was no fallout from the Twins organization. They recently did say the difference was that one was settled properly and professionally in a baseball way vs this one not being so professional.

  4. imnotyourbuddyguy - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    I’m sure Miguel Sano is an ok guy, however the guy pretending to be Miguel Sano seems to be a bit of a jerk.

  5. detroitfanatic - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    I have watched the video and read the account: someone please explain to me what he did that David Ortiz doesn’t do every freaking time! It takes David over 28 seconds to get around the bases. 2 seconds slower than anyone else. Toss in a bat flip, and post trot celebration on the plate ever time, a Mitchell Report listing, and I think we have baseball’s biggest d-bag. Can you imagine if fellow doper Arod had dropped an F bomb in front of millions like Ortiz did earlier this year. Yeesh.

    • twenty1miles - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:54 PM

      I guess I’m not the only one who thinks Oritz gets a free pass for showboating/PEDs.

    • cubfan531 - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      There’s only six active players with more MLB home runs than Ortiz. While it’s not right that he takes so long, he’s not a speedster. Sano has exactly 0 MLB homers, and definitely looks like he can get around the bases faster than Ortiz.

      If you’re an established big leaguer, it’s acceptable. If you’re in AA, you’ve got an attitude issue.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        A couple of random thoughts that are not connected.
        1) Didn’t Ortiz begin in the Twins organization?
        2) I seem to remember that when he was the Manager of the Twins Tom Kelly was hard on players who did not play the game the right way. I have a memory of a second baseman who was highly drafted but ended up in the dog house because he wanted to play the game his way.

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        unwritten rule?

      • detroitfanatic - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:30 PM

        Knoblauch?

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        proudlycanandian, Ortiz got dumped by the Twins and Knobalaca won a few
        championships with the Yankees his only problem was he didn’t pickup the ball
        the one time in the playoffs and then he forgot how to throw to first, no big drama
        queen and contributed, so I would say they were awful citizens, he didn’t commit
        a real life crime, I say 4 games is kind of over kill.

      • cubfan531 - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        Boston was only willing to take a flyer on Ortiz after the Twins dumped him. And even then, it was a coin flip between him and fellow prodigious slugger Brad Fullmer. It’d also stand to reason that Ortiz wasn’t taking half a minute around the bases as a 20 year old. Nobody does that if they truly want the majors.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM

        I was not thinking of Knoblach. It was some guy who came after Chuck, was a high draft pick and thought that he knew more than Kelly. I just do not remember his name. The Player was probably surprised that he had a short major league career.

      • wlschneider09 - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        You’re thinking of Todd Walker.

        http://www.minorleagueball.com/2006/4/29/142337/556

      • Cris E - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        Whether in the minors or MLB, an asshole is an asshole. Life improves when you stick by the old maxim “Don’t be a dick.”

    • Kevin S. - Jul 28, 2013 at 5:21 AM

      Ortiz was not in the Mitchell report, he supposedly failed the survey test.

  6. sillec28 - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Four (and counting) would be too many if all he did was showboat. But when combined with his “I’ll do what I want” response to Smith four isn’t enough. This jerk needs an attitude adjustment and Smith is doing his best to help him make one.

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      who hit the homerun?

    • kinggw - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Making the player resent him is not going to make a better player. People need to get a life. Sano had a history with the pitcher and thats what he did what he did. Like Harper before him he is unfairly being labeled as a jerk by people who nothing about him because he violated one of baseball’s one million asinine unwritten rules.

      Smith has gone too far. He may think he’s doing something, but don’t worry he’ll get a call from the big club soon enough to stop the nonsense. One game gets the kid’s attention, two games makes your point. This course of action makes him seem like a petty guy who is jealous of the fact that this kid will go someplace he never did, the bigs.

      • Cris E - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        Actually the team has been in constant contact with Smith.

        And you’re reading a lot into a situation that you’re pretty far removed from, so maybe consider some sort of conditionals when projecting your thoughts onto other folks. You know, “Perhaps he is jealous” or “Ironicly, thats what he did what he did.”

  7. tuberippin - Jul 28, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    “When confronted over this by Smith, notorious in the Twins’ system as a hard-nosed manager, Sano basically told Smith that he would do what he chose after hitting home runs.”

    Hey, fair’s fair. If Miguel Sano will do what he pleases after hitting home runs, Jeff Smith will do what he pleases with the lineup card. And if Sano doesn’t learn it this time, he’ll learn it in the majors when a pitcher inevitably throws high and in on him for showboating. These things have a way of working themselves out.

  8. louhudson23 - Jul 28, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    It would appear that Sano has yet to respond in the manner expected by his Manager and the Twins….supposedly he replied to earlier requests to tone down his actions with something akin to “I will do what I want”…it seems that is still his response remains similar….and he is right so far….he will do what he wants…..from a seated position….

  9. silentfreedom5 - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    This is blown way out of proportion by the manager. If you watch the video of the HR, he absolutely nails the ball, and watches it for a few seconds flips his bat and jogs around the bases in a timely manner, and at a decent pace. When he hit the ball, he knew it was a HR. There was no doubt, so he watched it for 3 seconds, and then rounds the bases in about 20 seconds. The bat flip was barely even a bat flip. The kid said he would celebrate HR’s as he wants to. He is a kid who listens to his manager and has improved a ton every day/year whatever, especially on defense where he went from horrible to good. Ryan and this manager were both in on the benching decision and both have made questionable strong punishments in the past (including demotions) to players for behavior problems and have ruined many careers doing so. Hopefully Sano can get to the big leagues soon and escape the wrath of this manager. The manager also says that these punishments happen on a semi-regular basis. That means he does this thing often. He needs to be let go.

  10. mgbob2013 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    There are several issues here. One is the manager’s authority. One is learning how to play the game properly. Lastly is avoiding getting yourself or a teammate get hurt if the pitcher “behaves the way HE wants to and comes way up and in with a 90+ fastball. “Gee, I guess it slipped”.

    In the minors, the manager is in charge. Period. His job is to get you ready for the majors. He tells you what to do to get there. I’m a big fan of the Twins’ AAA team in Rochester. I’m really looking forward to seeing Sano here soon. If he works the crap attitude out. What goes around comes around, and I’ll bet the guy batting behind him wasn’t too thrilled with his act. He needs to understand that. Clearly, he didn’t before his suspension.

    When Bjorn Bork was an adolescent, he was a brat on the tennis court. Made McEnroe look like a gentleman. Cursing, throwing rackets, the hold deal. The tennis academy he attended and his parents gave him a 6 month timeout. No tennis for half a year. He was known as one of the best and most courteous players in the game as an adult. Did the punishment slow his development as a player? Short-term, yes. Long-term, I don’t think so. Let’s hope 4 games is enough for Sano.

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