Twins' Garver hits IL after collision; Sano back up

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have placed catcher Mitch Garver on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left ankle and returned third baseman Miguel Sano from his rehabilitation assignment, nearly four months after he suffered a severe cut on his right heel.

Minnesota made the moves on Wednesday before its game against Los Angeles, following Garver's injury the night before in a home plate collision with Angels star Shohei Ohtani. Garver was diagnosed with a high sprain, which can take longer to heal than other varieties, but both Garver and manager Rocco Baldelli expressed relief that the injury was not worse. Garver was wearing a walking boot in the clubhouse. No timetable for his return to action was announced.

"There's not much inflammation, which we're happy about," said Garver, who caught center fielder Byron Buxton's throw in the eighth inning on Tuesday and tagged Ohtani out to prevent the tying run from scoring when Ohtani slid into his leg to cause his ankle to awkwardly twist in the 4-3 victory by the Twins .

There was no ill will, though.

"You're supposed to slide into home plate just like he did. I thought it was a really clean slide," Garver said.

The Twins lead the majors with 16 home runs and 38 RBIs from the catching position, also getting strong contributions from Jason Castro and Willians Astudillo. Losing Garver was clearly not the way they wanted to bring Sano back. Garver has had a breakout season, batting .329 with four doubles, nine home runs and 19 RBIs in 25 games. His OPS is 1.164.

After hurting the heel on Jan. 26 during a celebration in the Dominican Republic when he slipped on some metal stairs after his team's winter league championship, Sano has finally been cleared for action. He underwent a debridement procedure that removes damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound on March 5. Sano played in 10 games during his rehab in the minors, stopping at Class A Fort Myers, Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester.

The 26-year-old slugger, whose major league career has been marked by more lingering injuries than home runs, batted just .199 with a .679 OPS in 71 games last season while spending months in the minor leagues for reconditioning.

"He's going to play a lot. Full go," Baldelli said, adding: "I think he's in good shape. I think he feels good."

Sano did not play in Minnesota's 8-7 win against the Angels on Wednesday.

"I feel really good, my whole body, mentally and physically," said Sano, who arrived at the ballpark about an hour before the game and did not play. "It's a beautiful year for us. The team is winning a lot. I'm here to play and help the team too."

Sano's return means Marwin Gonzalez will put his multipositional skills to use. He can play all four infield positions and the corner outfield spots, and is still likely to be in the lineup almost every day while Baldelli gives different regulars a rest, including Sano.

"He's probably just clamoring to get out there and play. It's time," Baldelli said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.