FORT MYERS, FLA. – Apparently, Ervin Santana doesn’t believe in easing his way into spring training.
The veteran righthander tossed two scoreless innings Sunday during the Twins’ 2-1 victory over the Orioles. He gave up a hit in each inning but got out of them so quickly it seemed like he was always in control.
He hit 94 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun with his fastball, used a sharp-breaking slider and even had success with his changeup. Santana signed with the Twins for four years and $55 million during the offseason, their latest attempt to stabilize a floundering rotation. There didn’t appear to be any rust to knock off on Sunday.
He was asked if he expects to have everything working so early in camp.
“Always,” Santana said. “If you have your mind positive, you can expect good things.”
He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter while throwing 25 pitches, just seven in the first inning. He went into the bullpen then threw 10 more pitches so he’s in position to throw around 50 his next time out.
Joe Mauer and Eduardo Escobar each hit an RBI double as the Twins won after losing their last two games. They have scored just five runs in the past three games.
Santana has been upbeat and smiling since reporting to camp, but Twins manager Paul Molitor sees a focused professional.
“He looked fresh, he was very aggressive,” Molitor said. “Velocity up. Breaking ball sharp. He’s here to work and I know he wants to win. He’s been a welcome addition, to say the least.”
The rest of the Twins pitchers on Sunday followed suit. The only run scored by Baltimore was set up by a throwing error by Miguel Sano in the fourth, and Twins pitchers did not walk a batter for the first time in Grapefruit League action.
La VELLE E. NEAL III