Twins Insider Logo


Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Sano, Buxton flourish in Texas; Santiago leaves Twins to grieve

Here are three thoughts from LEN3 following the Twins' 14-3 loss to Texas last night:



SANTIAGO PITCHES, THEN LEAVES TO GRIEVE: Hector Santiago said there was a family group chat on Wedneday to lift spirits and make arrangements following the death of their grandmother, Nelly Rodriguez, on Tuesday in New Jersey. Santiago took the mound with messages to her written on the back of the scouting report he usually keeps in the back of his uniform pants pocket. Try as he might to pitch well through such a tough time, he lasted only five innings during the Twins 14-3 loss to Texas. He threw a season-high 104 pitches, which tells you how he struggled. Now Santiago will head to Jersey for services that will take place Sunday and Monday. He said he will attend Sunday's function, then rejoin the Twins. It had to be tough for him when a loved one is gone and people look to him to be strong for the whole family.

ROSTER MOVE: Twins manager Paul Molitor did not announce the roster move that will add a player while Santiago is on bereavement leave. That's expected to come tomorrow. Lefthander Buddy Boshers looks to be the odds-on favorite to return after pitching on Sunday. And, someone in the clubhouse told me today that a team can't have enough pitching.

SOME THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO: The series saw a few Twins either remain on a roll or start one. Eddie Rosario now has a career-high nine game hitting streak. Miguel Sano collected three more hits on Wednesday and was 6-for-9 over the last two games of the series. And Byron Buxton (above) reached base in eight of his last 11 plate appearances in the series on three singles and FIVE walks. His batting average is "up" to .145. He still has a way to go, but it looks like he's made the adjustment. He struck out ONCE the entire series. "He is seeing pitches, taking pitches out of the zone," Molitor said. "Hitting the ball to right field. Finally getting a little bit of positive feedback on some of the things we have tried to transition from practice to the game. He's got to feel better. It's just a three game series but its remarkably different in what we saw in three games and what we saw to the previous point."

I’ll check in with roster news when it is announced, and maybe some thoughts on the bullpen. There should be some pitchers at Class AAA and Class AA realizing they can make a difference this season.

Santiago shares memories of late grandmother before pitching for Twins

Hector Santiago walked into Paul Molitor's office on Tuesday to inform him that his grandmother, Nelly Rodriguez, had passed away at age 80. The two talked about what she meant to Santiago. 

Molitor said you never know how someone is going to react, or respond, to a personal loss. But Santiago made it clear that he wanted the ball tonight.

"He wants to pitch and then work out where he can pay his respects over the course of the weekend," Molitor said, "I'm sure it will be heavy on his heart. How he responds, we can't really predict that."

So Santiago will start tonight's game against the Rangers before heading east for the funeral.

We asked for some details (name, age, etc) and Santiago provided more than we could have imagined. I'm going to share the entire contents of the e-mail - sent to us from Santiago via Twins staffer Mitch Hestad - to show just what kind of guy he is.

From Hestad: Hector also wanted you guys to have this info:

From Santiago: "Tell them to write about how brave she was.

Raising her 8 kids in Newark

How she was a great role model for her kids ,grandkids, always supported her family and grandkids with their choices in life. She lived life to the fullest always had a smile on her face no matter how hard the times were she was happy to be where she was and her family was doing well. Just all around she was the greatest grandmother we could ask for! And her cooking was delicious.

And she supported me and the twins to the end."

You don't even expect 5 percent of what Santiago wrote for the media to have. He's a high quality person.

Because Santiago will be away from the team for a few days, he will be placed on the bereavement list, allowing the Twins to call up someone for the Royals series. They won't need a starter, so it likely will be a reliever. A player can remain on the bereavement list from three to seven days.

With a win tonight, the Twins will sweep the Rangers here for the first time since 1976. With lefthander Cole Hamels on the mound, Max Kepler and Joe Mauer are out of the lineup. Robbie Grossman is in right. Kennys Vargas is at first and Eduardo Escobar is the desginated hacker.

Mauer is 0-for-12 against Hamels anyway.


Brian Dozier, 2B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Miguel Sano, 3B
Robbie Grossman, RF
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Eduardo Escobar, DH
Chris Gimenez, C
Eddie Rosario, LF
Byron Buxton, CF

Hector Santiago, LHP


Delino DeShields, Lf
Elvis Andrus, SS
Carlos Gomez, CF
Mike Napoli, DH
Rougned Odor, 2B
Ryan Rua, 1B
Joey Gallo, 3B
Robinson Chirinos, C
Shin-Soo Choo, RF

Cole Hamels, LHP

Final, 4/26 R H E
Minnesota 10-11 3 9 0
Texas 10-12 14 14 0

Poll: What is the Vikings biggest draft need?

See more polls