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.

Santana update: Twins still interested, but other suitors emerge

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: February 18, 2014 - 2:50 PM

The Twins remain interested in a reunion with free agent lefthander Johan Santana, but competition is growing.

According to a source close to Santana, several teams have expressed interest recently in the two-time Cy Young winner.

Rob Antony, the Twins assistant General Manager, confirmed on Tuesday that he spoke with Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, on Monday and that the sides remain in contact.

``We talked (Monday) and I'll see,'' Antony said. ``I haven't heard back from him. I expressed where we are at. He said, `I'll talk to Johan and we will get back.' ''

Santana, 34, is trying to return to the mound after having a second surgery on his shoulder in April of last year. He has thrown twice in the bullpen since Feb. 7, and plans to throw in the bullpen toward the end of this week or early next week. There are indications that Santana could schedule a bullpen session for all interested clubs.


There have been whispers for weeks that the Twins had a deal all but wrapped up with Santana, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Greenberg would not discuss the state of negotiations with the Twins when contacted on Tuesday.

``Johan feels very good,'' Greenberg said. ``He feels better than after his first surgery.''

Santana won't be ready to pitch until the end of May or early June, so he would likely sign a minor league deal with incentives once he reaches the majors. Representatives of the Twins and Orioles observed Santana's first bullpen session earlier this month, and the Twins' continued interest suggest they were encouraged by what they saw.

Baltimore has since signed two starting pitchers, including righthander Ubaldo Jimenez, and might be satisfied by what they have. But the signing of Jimenez might have gotten the attention of other A.L. East clubs. It just so happens that Santana still has a home in New York from his time with the Mets, so returning there while playing for a certain A.L. East franchise wouldn't be a problem.

A Twins-Santana reunion would likely excite fans who fell in love with the smiling southpaw as he went 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA over eight seasons with the Twins. But Santana, even if he's not ready until August, could be an impact stretch-drive addition for a contending team.

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