Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano joins an exciting lineup for the 2017 Home Run Derby. The 24-year-old currently has 18 home runs in 69 games this season.
As he showcases his power in the national spotlight, here’s more on the Minnesota Twins slugger and his family.
1. Sano Is From the Dominican Republic
Sano was born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic, to a poor Haitian and Cocolo family.
He lived a “small, run-down house with eight people,” according to Fox Sports.
“Well the neighborhood where we lived is a poor neighborhood,” Sano told Fox Sports. “We were a very poor family. My dad and mom pushed themselves a lot, and my grandma, to raise all of my siblings working hard.”
Sano’s talent on the baseball field drew the attention of major-league scouts as a teenager.
He chose to begin to play baseball with the name Sano, his mother’s family name over using his official surname of his father, which is Jean, out of respect to the Dominican Republic.
2. Sano Entered the 2015 Season Mourning the Loss of His Infant Daughter
In November 2014, Sano and his wife, Daniela, had their first child, a daughter named Angelica. Tragically, Angelica lived for only one week due to a heart defect.
According to USA Today, Sano said his daughter’s death made him want to quit baseball until his family and a man he knew from his native San Pedro de Macoris intervened.
“I was lost in the world, and there was this temptation to harm myself,’’ Sano told USA Today. “And he sat down with me and said, ‘Calm down. Just like she left, some more will arrive.’ He gave me some positive advice.”
3. Sano Underwent Tommy John Surgery the Same Year He Lost His Daughter
Sano underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow in 2014. As a result, he did not play a single game that season. It was the same year he lost his infant daughter.
While rehabbing from surgery in Fort Myers, Sano flew home after his daughter’s birth in November. He had returned to Florida when his mother called him with the tragic news.
“I know God took my baby,” Sano told the Pioneer Press. “It’s crazy. He gave her to me. Then he took her back.”
After missing the 2014 season, Sano bounced back and earned a major league callup in July 2015.
“I got hurt, I had surgery, and I lose the baby — it was a bad year for me,” he told the Star Tribune. “Really bad. But I’m here now. I’m OK. My wife and I will go on.”
4. Sano Has a Son
While Sano still mourns the loss of his daughter, he told USA Today that he reminds himself to stay strong for his nine-month old son, Dylan Miguel.
Former teammate Casey Fien told the Pioneer Press how impressed he was with Sano’s ability to process the pain of losing his daughter and produce on the field.
“That speaks volumes on how he can compartmentalize and focus on what’s happening on the field,” Fien said. “That’s huge for maturity. The human mind can mess up a lot of things here in baseball. Just the fact he did that, that’s pretty awesome.”
5. Sano Has a Tattoo in Honor of His Late Daughter
After Angelica’s passing, it was too difficult for Sano to discuss his lost child.
“It was hard,” he told Pioneer Press. “I would cry every day about that. My first baby, she died.”
Sano has a large tattoo on his right forearm in memory of Angelica. “Angelica R.I.P.” it reads in large script.