KANSAS CITY, MO. – Ervin Santana will throw in the bullpen Sunday while the Twins decide when they will activate the veteran starter from the 60-day disabled list following his longer-than-expected recovery from finger surgery in February.
What version of Santana they will get is unknown.
In his rehab outing Friday for Class AAA Rochester, Santana gave up one run over six innings on two hits and three walks with one strikeout. He needed just 66 pitches, 46 of them strikes.
But Santana’s fastball topped out at 90 mph, many at 89. He has thrown 93 to 95 during his tenure with the Twins.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said Saturday that there might too much emphasis on Santana’s velocity, and said the righthander had good control Friday.
“I think that we’re pleased,” Molitor said. “I think we have to realize that the whole idea of him being exactly the same as before the injury is probably not happening yet, probably won’t in the short term.”
It’s possible that Santana, 35, has the cunning and guile to pitch effectively without topping out at 95 mph. It’s also possible Santana will pick up a little more velocity once he’s back in the majors.
Santana could be a few days away from rejoining the Twins. He is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Sunday, while the club decides if he’s ready to face major leaguers now or if he needs one more outing. What complicates the issue is that the Twins need to make room on their 40-man roster for him.
“We’re going to consider when to get him back up here,” Molitor said. “ I’m interested to see how he’s doing going into the clubhouse in Rochester tonight and see how he’s feeling. Probably have to decide on that over the next couple of days.”
Mejia to start Monday
Lefthander Adalberto Mejia will be called up from Rochester in time to start on Monday at Toronto. He is replacing righthander Fernando Romero, who started last Sunday against Tampa Bay and was sent down to the Red Wings after the game.
In his only major league start of 2018, Mejia gave up four runs over four innings on June 30 in a loss to the Cubs on a sultry day at Wrigley Field.
“A tough day to gauge somebody,” Molitor said. “You hope he’s a better version of what we saw the majority of last year, which means everything from trusting his catcher more to not trying to strike everybody out to not trying to make the perfect pitch all the time. He’s got pitches. We all know that.”
Since returning to Rochester, Mejia has made four appearances, including two starts. His last start wasn’t pretty, giving up seven earned runs over six innings on Tuesday against Louisville. He did hold Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to one run over six innings in the start before that.
Garver gets at-bats
Molitor prefers to split catching duties between Mitch Garver and Bobby Wilson, but tries to give Garver designated hitter at-bats against lefthanded starters.
Garver was in the lineup on Friday against Royals lefthander Danny Duffy, drawing two walks. But it was against righthander Jason Hammel that Garver finished an eight-pitch at-bat with a run-scoring triple. That broke an 0-for-15 skid.
“He does a nice job of recognizing, especially when he gets behind,” Molitor said. “He took some pretty close pitches in the last couple of at-bats to get some walks. It looks like he’s seeing the ball well. His offense has picked up here as of late so we’ll try to get him in when it makes sense.”
First baseman Logan Morrison (left hip impingement) will be activated from the disabled list in time for Sunday’s series finale vs. the Royals. Catcher Willians Astudillo is returning to Rochester.