La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

There won't be a Twins-Santana reunion

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 4, 2014 - 9:24 AM


All indications are that the Orioles today will announce the signing of left-hander Johan Santana to a minor league deal. One report suggested that Santana will be allowed into the major league camp to continue his rehab there.

Update: The deal was announced Monday morning. Santana signed a minor-league contract with the team.

Santana visited the Orioles on Monday. I contacted a member of the Twins organization last night who believed the deal was done. The Twins did have recent conversations with Peter Greenberg, Santana's agent.

The Twins have had numerous conversations with Greenberg since the end of last season. In fact, several people believed that a Twins-Santana reunion was inevitable. But the sides could never agree on a deal. Granted, we're talking about a minor league deal here, but the problem might have been the gap in incentives.

Plus, Baltimore has a better chance of winning right now than the Twins.

It's too bad for the Twins, because fans were getting excited about the possibility of the two-time Cy Young winner slipping into Twinstripes once again. Santana has a long way to go since he's coming back from a second shoulder surgery. How close he can get back to what he once was is unknown. One shoulder surgery has ended pitchers' careers, remember that.

It would have been a great setup for Santana. There are a lot of people still around from his time with the Twins, mainly manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson, trainers Dave Preumer and Lanning Tucker (former rehab coordinator) and strength and conditioning coordinator Perry Castellano. He would have been near his Fort Myers home and able to take his time and return to action when he felt right.

Baltimore trains in Sarasota, which is just over an hour away. And the Orioles, in January, hired Chris Correnti as their assistant athletic trainer. Correnti, it just so happens, worked for the Mets from 2007-10 - during Santana's time there.

Santana went to a local high school field on Feb. 7 to throw off a mound, and asked two two teams to check him out - the Twins and the Orioles.

I'm in Fort Myers today, working on a, `project.' Phil Miller is with the team in Jupiter, probably the worst drive of the spring schedule. Hang with 'em, Phil!


 

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