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Look for Miguel Sano Return Friday

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May 24, 2018

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A Thursday notes column that includes medical news:

Sports Headliners is told by a club source Miguel Sano is expected to be available for the Twins tomorrow night in Seattle against the Mariners after being out of the lineup almost a month since being diagnosed with a hamstring strain. He has successfully been on a rehab assignment earlier this week with Minnesota’s Rochester Triple-A team.

There is lingering concern the 6-4, 260-pound Sano needs a more dedicated approach to his conditioning. It’s more than a good guess Twins management is hopeful the 25-year-old third baseman will develop a better conditioning approach to his body.

The Twins, 21-24, have played 45 games this season but Sano has participated in only 20. He is hitting .213 with four doubles, five home runs, 14 RBI and nine walks.

Sano has a history of injuries and weight issues during his professional career. He has never played in more than 116 MLB games in a single season. He has the potential to be among American League leaders in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage. After joining the Twins in the summer of 2015 he even told Sports Headliners he welcomed a comparison with future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.

Sano considered the Tigers’ star the best hitter he had seen. “I can be better than Cabrera, I think,” Sano said then.

Sano’s best of two-plus seasons in the big leagues came last year when he hit .264 with 28 homers and 77 RBI, but he is capable of better numbers and is a key to whether the Twins can qualify for the playoffs.

Joe Mauer, who replaced A.J. Pierzynski as the Twins catcher in 2004, is 19 base hits away from passing the now retired Pierzynski on the MLB all-time career hits list. Mauer has 2,025 hits and ranks No. 269, while Pierzynksi is No. 259 with his career total of 2,043.

Pierzynski, who was with the Twins from 1998-2003, was traded to the Giants (along with cash) for Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan. Although it was one of the Twins’ better trades, Pierzynski had an outstanding career with seven other MLB clubs before retiring in 2016.

Cretin-Derham Hall is promoting to its alumni a “CDH Day at Wrigley” on July 1 when the Cubs host the Twins.

Paul Allen didn’t do his KFAN morning show yesterday because of a colonoscopy. Allen, 52, tweeted, “I do not have colon cancer,” and the Vikings’ radio play-by-play man expressed no concern about the procedure’s results.

After hosting the Super Bowl here this year and having a successful experience, it seems likely the NFL will eventually host its annual draft of college players in Minnesota. The league announced yesterday Nashville will be the draft host in 2019, making that the fifth consecutive year the event has been in a different city.

Gophers’ football loyalists are talking five to eight wins on the 12-game schedule this fall. The nonconference schedule with New Mexico State, Fresno and Miami (Ohio) coming to Minneapolis is among the easiest for Big Ten teams. The conference schedule, though, is demanding including only one likely “gimme game”—at Illinois on November 3.

League road games also include Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Sports Headliners is told the Minnesota marching band will perform at the Nebraska game.

Minnesota plays four conference home games: Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue.

Who is counting but the Badgers have won 14 consecutive games in the rivalry with Minnesota. Wisconsin figures to be included in numerous preseason national top 10 polls, and might have America’s best offensive line.

John Williams

John Williams will be honored posthumously June 23 by the African American Legacy Project of Northwest Ohio. He will be inducted into the organization’s Sports Hall of Fame. The Toledo, Ohio native was an All-Big Ten offensive tackle on the Gophers’ 1967 conference championship team and first round draft choice of the Colts who won the Super Bowl with Williams. After football, Williams was a practicing dentist for 34 years in Minneapolis. He was a kind and generous man loved by former teammates and others.  He passed away in 2012 and is still missed by family and his many friends.

Canterbury Park will offer more than horse racing on Memorial Day when the Shakopee racetrack entertains with the fifth annual Running of the Bulldogs, plus a lineup of Twin Cities barbeque vendors. There will be 72 bulldogs competing in six heats between live horse races on Monday afternoon. Fans can also vote for their favorite barbeque vendor.

Dave Mona is looking for auction items for the ninth annual Camden’s Concert on August 2 at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Restaurant dinners, rounds of golf, specialty dinners in homes, wine/spirits and concert tickets are among the ideas for auction items. Suggestions can be sent to: Davemona6328@gmail.com.The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation benefit event is named after Dave and Linda Mona’s grandson Camden. The guest artist in August will be Jimmy Fortune, the former tenor of the Statler Brothers.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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