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Twins Insider

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

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

Twins going for first three-game sweep in Texas since 1976

A couple leftovers from last night's win here in Arlington, Texas ...



TWINKLE TOES AT THIRD: There is NO doubt that Miguel Sano is more comfortable at third base than right field. He was charged with a ninth-inning error, but he made three great plays before that  that were all highlight worthy. His glovework was on display in the first inning when Carlos Gomez laid down a bunt that forced Sano to rush in and make a barehanded grab before lasering a throw to Joe Mauer at first to get Gomez by a hair. "The bunt was the highlight, for me, of the three," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We tried to back him up on the count, knowing Gomez's tendencies. Gomez peripherally saw that he backed up and tried to beat him. It's amazing that a man with that size and quickness has the ability to finish that play." Sano wasn't finished. He dived to his left in the fourth then scrambled to his feet to throw out Mike Napoli. He also made a leaping stab of Napoli's line drive in the seventh. "He's helping us both offensively and defensively," Molitor said. Sano said after Tuesday's game that he watches the good defensive third baseman like Adrian Beltre and Manny Machado for tips on how to handle the hot corner. "I try to learn from those guys," Sano said. "I watch Machado when he sets up and Beltre, so I try to learn. You have to be ready all the time."

RARE SWEEP: The Twins have a chance to sweep the Rangers here in a three game series for the first time since Sept. 7-9, 1976. The scores were 1-0, 3-1 and 6-0 and played in front of crowds of 4,640, 3,777 and 3,603 at old Arlington Stadium.  The winning pitchers: Pete Redfern, Steve Luebber and Dave Goltz. The Twins used one reliever the entire series. And the lineup included Rod Carew, Roy Smalley, Lyman Bostock, Butch Wynegar and Larry Hisle. Bostock went 4-for-4 in the second game. Carew hit a pinch hit grand slam in the third game. Nearly 41 years ago. Wow.

ONE MORE THING: Someone asked me on Twitter (what? you don't tweet? what's wrong with you!) why the outfield at Globe Life Park has weird markings. The stadium was used for a golf promotion in November, and greens were drawn in the outfield. They Rangers were told the markings would go away by Opening Day, but that did not happen. The grounds crew had to re-sod some spots. It's all supposed to disappear by May.