Danny Santana went 0-for-11 in his rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers, but the results weren't what the Twins were concerned about. The versatile rookie appeared totally recovered from the knee bruise he suffered in Anaheim last month, even stole a base Thursday night, and he convinced the decision-makers that he's ready to return to the major leagues.
He'll start in center field tonight, a position he's still learning, but will get playing time at his natural position of shortstop, too, manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"We'll get him back to the infield. He's an infielder by trade," Gardenhire said. Most importantly, though, "he was our ignitor before he got hurt. He was doing some things that were fun to watch. Hopefully he'll get back to that." To make room for Santana, catcher Chris Herrmann was returned to Class AAA Rochester.
Santana and his .328 batting average, with 16 RBIs, are back in the leadoff spot tonight as the Twins open a 10-game homestand against the Rays, Indians and White Sox. If the Twins are going to make themselves relevant, this figures to be when it's got to happen. "We've got to work our way to .500 first," Gardenhire said, not an easy task since they're currently 44-50.
Here are the lineups for tonight's 7:10 p.m. start: