NEW YORK — Ervin Santana “is getting close” to throwing off a mound, Paul Molitor said Monday, and Trevor May is ready to throw in a game. The progress of those two pitchers could scramble the Twins’ starting rotation in another month or so.
Santana, whose last start was here in Yankee Stadium last October, in the AL wild-card game, “is doing really well,” the Twins manager said. Santana underwent surgery on the middle finger of his pitching hand in February, and “his long-toss and his throwing program have gone extremely well. His finger extension is getting better the more he throws.”
Molitor said he had conferred with athletic trainer Tony Leo about the next step, which will be bullpen sessions at the team’s spring headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla.
Meanwhile, May threw his final session of live batting practice Monday in Fort Myers, and will appear in an extended spring training game later this week. If he pitches well in a couple such games, he could begin a formal rehab stint with the Class A Miracle early next month, the final ramp-up toward a return to the Twins.
Meanwhile, it’s David Wells bobblehead night at Yankee Stadium, and there were people lined up at the gates hours ago. Funny, I didn’t realize fans here did that, especially those who, from the looks of them, aren’t old enough to remember Wells’ glory days with the Yankees.
For the Twins, the best souvenir they could claim tonight would be a win, something far more rare for them in this stadium than a bobblehead. Counting last October’s wild card game, Minnesota is 1-9 in Yankee Stadium over the past three years.
They’ll start Jake Odorizzi tonight, their most accomplished starter in Yankee Stadium — that is, he’s won a couple of times here, in six career starts. That’s better than Kyle Gibson, who has one win (in 2013) in two career starts here; Jose Berrios, who lost his lone New York start; and Lance Lynn, who has never pitched here.
“We had options” about how to arrange the pitching in this series, Molitor said. “It wasn’t just getting [Odorizzi] in New York. He’s the one guy that’s faced this team a lot. I don’t think that’s a huge factor. I’m glad he’s got a little history here, but I don’t think he’s going to be intimidated by the stadium or the players or anything. He’s not that kind of guy.”
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game, the first of four in New York: