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Miguel Sano has begun a critical offseason in his so-far-frustrating career

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) —  with the Minnesota Twins Hunter Renfroe Jersey , who plan to keep close tabs on the slugging third baseman frequently waylaid by injuries.“The plan is to have very consistent touch points,” general manager Thad Levine said, “both by phone and quite frankly face to face.”Sano left Minnesota last week for his native Dominican Republic, where he was involved in an incident with police outside a nightclub that left an officer with a broken leg. The incident was deemed an accident and no criminal charges were brought. Last winter, Sano was accused of assaulting a woman but Major League Baseball did not punish him after an investigation yielded insufficient evidence.For now, though, the focus is on Sano’s physical condition. After losing the last six weeks of the 2017 season due to a lower left leg injury that required surgery, Sano missed time in May with a left hamstring injury. Then a hard slide in September resulted in soreness in his left knee, keeping him out of all but one more game the remainder of the season. In between, he was struggling so badly at the plate that he was sent to the minor leagues for about six weeks for a holistic reconditioning.In a wide-ranging conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Levine and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey expressed the customary optimism about Sano’s attitude toward trying to re-establish himself as an All-Star. He’ll be asked to make periodic appearances at the team’s minor league facility in Fort Myers, Florida, with the possibility of also playing some winter ball. Sano will meet Monday with strength and conditioning staff at the organization’s academy in the Dominican Republic.“We know he’s at an important crossroads in his career. He had a tough offseason last year,” Falvey said. “This is now an opportunity with what we expect a fully healthy offseason to take meaningful steps forward.”Once his knee is back to normal, Sano will be expected to work on his conditioning. During the last week of the season Freddy Galvis Jersey , he said his goal for 2019 was to report between 245 and 255 pounds. The 6-foot-4 Sano has weighed as much as 290 pounds, but the Twins don’t have a specific target in mind for him. They’re just aiming for him to be in shape to play a full season, after the 25-year-old batted .199 with 115 strikeouts in 299 plate appearances in 2018.“We may have been a little bit critical of him at the beginning of the season, relative to the shape,” Levine said. “We all know what transpired at the end of the season as a result of that, but I think he deserves some credit. He did shave off some weight.”On other subjects:— There’s no timetable for a decision by Paul Molitor, who was dismissed last week as manager , about whether he’ll take a job in baseball operations to stay with the organization. Falvey said the Twins remain optimistic he’ll accept.— With the process of interviewing candidates for Molitor’s replacement in full swing, Falvey said there’s no target timeline to make a hire despite the competition of five other teams simultaneously searching.— The Twins have given first baseman Joe Mauer space to spend time with his family as he mulls his future amid the likelihood he’ll retire. They don’t anticipate an answer until after the World Series, but if Mauer decides he’s interested in continuing his playing career, Falvey said, the Twins would be interested in retaining him.“Obviously there is a lot that goes into signing somebody,” Falvey said. “We’ve always told him we’d welcome Joe back, certainly.”— Center fielder Byron Buxton, who was shut down for the season in September after struggling through more injuries and hitting troubles Austin Hedges Jersey , was reported to be upset by not being called back up to the Twins from Triple-A. Falvey said recent conversations with Buxton about the future were positive.“I feel good about where he’s headed with us going forward,” Falvey said.— Ehire Adrianza, who served as the regular third baseman when Sano was hurt after filling in frequently at shortstop while Jorge Polanco served his 80-game suspension for a performance-enhancing substance, had surgery Tuesday on his non-throwing shoulder to repair a torn labrum that limited him down the stretch. Adrianza will need three to four months to recover, Levine said, which could affect his availability at the beginning of spring training. The Milwaukee Brewers arguably pitched well enough through the first five games of the National League Championship Series to have already earned a spot in the World Series.However, when they take the field at Miller Park on Friday night, the Brewers will find themselves on the short end of a 3-2 series score to the Los Angeles Dodgers and, consequently, on the brink of elimination.The big problem is the lack of offense that the Brewers have had in their three games in Los Angeles. It's a surprising twist from a team that was able to string clutch hits together down the stretch run of the regular season and in the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies."We were unable to score enough runs," manager Craig Counsell said, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I think that was the bottom line of the three games [in L.A.].They've done a good job of holding us down offensively.Counsell added: "I know you're going to play 'what if' we could have captured another one of these games, but we're still going home and have a chance with this thing, with a bunch of [pitchers] in really good shape."The first pitch is scheduled for 8:39 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by FS1. NLCS ScheduleGame 1: Brewers 6 http://www.padresfanproshop.com/authenti...aje-jersey , Dodgers 5Game 2: Dodgers 4, Brewers 3Game 3: Brewers 4, Dodgers 0Game 4: Dodgers 2, Brewers 1 (13 innings)Game 5: Dodgers 5, Brewers 2; Dodgers lead, 3-2Game 6: Dodgers at Brewers; Friday, Oct. 19, at 8:39p.m. ET on FS1*Game 7: Dodgers at Brewers; Saturday, Oct. 20, at 9:09p.m. ET on FS1*If necessary.The Brewers need their big hitters, Christian Yelich, Jesus Aguilar, and Travis Shaw, to come through. Yelich blasted 36 home runs during the regular season, Aguilar was right behind with 35 and Shaw added 32. Ryan Braun also contributed 20 home runs and 64 runs batted in Christian Villanueva Jersey , making up a potent foursome.Wade Miley, who pitched to one batter in starting Game 5, will get the start in Game 6 for the Brewers, while Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the start for the Dodgers.Miley was 5-2 in 16 starts with a 2.57 earned-run average during the regular season. He limited opposing hitters to a .237 batting average and a 1.21 WHIP. Miley has been on top of his game in the postseason, as he has not given up a run in 10.1 innings.Ryu is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in the postseason, having allowed 10 hits and two earned runs in 11.1 innings. He has also held opposing batters to a .227 average.The Dodgers are -120 favorites to win the game and close out the series, while the Brewers are even money. A bettor backing Los Angeles would have to risk $120 to win $100, while a Milwaukee backer would have to risk $100 to earn a $100 profit. PredictionThe Brewers should feel good about returning to Miller Park and playing before their adoring fans. However, if they want to feel better after Friday night's game, they need to remember how to hit in key situations.Beating Ryu will not be easy, but look for the Brewers to come through in the late innings with the game on the line. They will get the clutch hits from Yelich and Shaw, and the Milwaukee pitching will hold down the Dodgers.The Brewers win Game 6 and force a winner-take-all Game 7.
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