MILWAUKEE – Jorge Polanco has shown a little rust since joining the Twins following his 80-game suspension.
“I felt the first two games I swung at a few bad pitches,” he said, “but I feel good. My timing is good.”
He went 2-for-3 with an RBI on Sunday against the Brewers to finish 3-for-11 in the series.
“Now that I’m here I’m not trying to put pressure on myself,” he said. “Just going out and doing my thing.”
Molitor had looked forward to having Polanco back in the lineup because he takes quality at-bats.
“I thought he looked like the same guy as far as his at-bats,” Molitor said.
Slegers called up to start
Slegers, 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA for Class AAA Rochester, was called up May 30 and pitched in relief against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. He gave up two earned runs over 5⅓ innings after coming in for Fernando Romero, who was knocked out in the second inning. Slegers returned to Rochester after that outing and has gone 0-4 with a 4.08 ERA in five outings since then.
The Twins need a starter for Thursday after lefthander Adalberto Mejia lasted just four innings on Saturday against the Cubs in Chicago. And Mejia was a replacement for Romero, who was optioned to Rochester on June 24.
Slegers debuted last season, going 0-1 with a 6.46 ERA in four games (three starts). He went 15-4, 3.40 at Rochester last season, earning the Jim Rantz Award as the Twins minor league pitcher of the year.
To make room on the roster for Slegers, the Twins optioned lefthander Gabriel Moya to Rochester. Moya did not pitch his way into the demotion. He threw two scoreless innings on Saturday, striking out four.
“Moya did a nice job [Saturday],” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s on a good track. He’s pitching well. We just need to keep him going down there.”
Next for Santana
Ervin Santana’s next step on his extended road to recovery will take place on Monday when he makes his second start for Class A Fort Myers. The plan is for Santana to throw around 60 pitches as he continues his comeback from finger surgery in February.
In his last start, on Saturday, Santana gave up one run over three innings on two hits with two strikeouts. He only touched 90 mph with his fastball, which has concerned the Twins.
This is the second time Santana has started building arm strength for a return to the clubs. The first one was aborted in late May when he continued to deal with discomfort in the finger. After having a calcium deposit removed from his right middle finger in February, he took time off before resuming activities.
Willians Astudillo is primarily a catcher but has served the Twins in a variety of roles just a few games into his major league career, playing four different positions in four games.
He played left field in his debut Saturday against the Cubs but moved to center late when Max Kepler left the game because of heat-related illness. He started games at third and second against the Brewers.
So far, he hasn’t caught. Will that ever happen?
“It’s possible,” Molitor said. “It’s nice to have that protection while he’s on the roster to make moves, especially in these interleague games. The reality was he hasn’t been catching a ton down in Triple A recently.”
That’s true. Astudillo caught just once for Rochester in June. He was needed at third base most of the month and also played three games in left field.