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