FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins remain interested in a reunion with free-agent lefthander Johan Santana, but competition is growing. Several teams have expressed interest recently in the two-time Cy Young winner, according to a person close to Santana.
Rob Antony, the Twins assistant general manager, confirmed Tuesday he spoke to Santana’s agent, Peter Greenberg, on Monday and the two sides remain in contact. “We talked [Monday] and I’ll see,” Antony said. “I haven’t heard back from him. I expressed where we are. He said, ‘I’ll talk to Johan and we will get back.’ ”
Santana, 34, is trying to return to the mound after shoulder surgery in April of last year — the second operation on his left shoulder. He has thrown twice in the bullpen since Feb. 7, and plans to throw in the bullpen toward the end of this week or early next week. There are indications that Santana could schedule a bullpen session for all interested clubs.
Greenberg would not discuss the negotiations with the Twins. “Johan feels very good,” Greenberg said. “He feels better than after his first surgery.”
Santana won’t be ready to pitch until the end of May or early June, so he would likely sign a minor league deal, with incentives kicking in once he reaches the majors. Representatives of the Twins and Orioles observed Santana’s first bullpen session, and the Twins’ continued interest suggest they were encouraged by what they saw.
Baltimore has since signed two starting pitchers, including righthander Ubaldo Jimenez, and might be satisfied with what they have. But the signing of Jimenez might get the attention of other A.L. East clubs. It just so happens that Santana still has a home in New York from his time with the Mets, so returning there while playing for a certain A.L. East franchise wouldn’t be a problem.
A Twins-Santana reunion likely would excite fans who fell in love with the smiling Santana as he went 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA over eight seasons in Minnesota.
But Santana, even if he’s not ready until August, could have an impact for a contending team, if he can get close to his old pitching form.
• Shortstop Pedro Florimon has been discharged from an area hospital after having his appendix removed Monday. He’s expected to rest for at least couple weeks before beginning any activities, and likely will miss several spring training games, which begin Feb. 28.
2012 stats: .272 average, three home runs, 19 RBI in 34 games for rookie league Elizabethton and one at Class AA New Britain.
Acquired: Drafted in the third round in 2013.
Role: Starter, likely at Class A Cedar Rapids.
Did you know? He won the Johnny Bench Award last year while playing at Ole Miss as the top catcher in college baseball.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III