Ervin Santana threw roughly 35 pitches to hitters Friday in Fort Myers, and among them was Jorge Polanco. That’s a step forward for both missing Twins, given that they have been sidelined by finger injuries for longer than the team had hoped. Santana, still working his way back from February finger surgery, may be nearing the point where he can pitch minor-league games and begin building his arm up for a return to Minnesota, which now appears inevitably after the All-Star break. He will throw again on Monday.

Polanco’s return is much closer: He must be placed on the Twins’ 25-man (and 40-man) roster July 2, when his 80-game steroids suspension expires, or go on the disabled list. But he caught the middle finger on his throwing hand in a car door nearly two weeks ago, and the finger subsequently became infected, forcing the Twins to abandon their plans to begin a minor-league assignment last Sunday.

PHIL MILLER