TORONTO — One All-Star pitcher arrived on Tuesday, just in time to see another All-Star pitcher perform.
Ervin Santana will be in the dugout tonight, and on the mound tomorrow, making his 2018 debut nearly six months after surgery to remove calcium deposits from the middle finger of his pitching hand. For now, he gets to watch Jose Berrios pitch for the first time since last Tuesday’s All-Star game.
“I told him it’s great to see him,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s in a pretty good place.”
So is Berrios, who recorded three outs without allowing a hit during his one-inning stint for the American League at Nationals Park. He’s won nine games, his ERA is a career-best 3.68, and he’s only 40 innings away from eclipsing the career-high 166 innings he pitched in the minor leagues in 2015.
That last number is part of the reason Molitor waited a week to use the 24-year-old Berrios again. “I’m hoping that the little bit of extra time will be good for him as far as being able to have a strong second half,” Molitor said. “His innings are up there. He hasn’t missed any time. We still were able to get him a fairly good chunk [of rest] without having to extend himself. So hopefully that bodes well.”
He’s hoping the All-Star experience does, too. “Once you get a chance to experience that, maybe somewhat subconsciously you want to go out there and back your second half like you did the first half to show that you were worthy of that selection,” Molitor said. “So hopefully tonight he gets the second off to a good start.”
A couple of other notes from Rogers Centre, where showers in the forecast will keep the roof closed tonight:
— Byron Buxton was scheduled to take batting practice in Indianapolis on Tuesday, his first action on the field since injuring his hand last week.
— Addison Reed’s bullpen session went well Tuesday, so the Twins expect to activate him from the disabled list sometime on this road trip.
— Eduardo Escobar won the Heart and Hustle Award, given to one player from each team “based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.”
Here are the lineups for the second of three games in Canada: