The Toronto Blue Jays signed former Twins ace Johan Santana to a minor league contract, hoping the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner can make it back to the major leagues.

The Blue Jays announced the deal Thursday and invited him to big league spring training.

Santana turns 36 on March 13. The Venezuelan lefthander last pitched in the majors in 2012 with the New York Mets and has undergone two operations on his left shoulder in recent years.

Santana was in Baltimore’s system last year and tore his left Achilles’ tendon in June. He has made just one appearance since then, retiring six consecutive batters in January in the Venezuelan Winter League.

The four-time All-Star won AL Cy Young Awards with the Twins in 2004 and 2006. He pitched the only no-hitter in Mets history and is 139-78 lifetime with a 3.20 ERA.

• Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders could be sidelined until around the All-Star break after stepping on a sprinkler while shagging fly balls and tearing cartilage in his left knee. General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said the injury is expected to require surgery. Saunders, acquired from Seattle in a December trade, was projected as a starter.

No word on Hamilton

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton was on the minds of his teammates Thursday, a day after he was in New York to meet with Major League Baseball officials about an unspecified disciplinary issue.

Hamilton, 33, has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, leading to suspensions that cost him more than three years while in the minors. The Angels have confirmed Hamilton’s meeting with MLB but have declined to give any more information.

“I don’t know any of the details, so I can’t talk about that. But we miss him and we hope everything works out,” AL MVP Mike Trout said.

Hamilton already was expected to be out until after the regular season begins because of shoulder surgery.

“We’ll wait for Major League Baseball and see what the next step is. I don’t think it will serve us any purpose to look too far down the road,” manager Mike Scioscia said.


• The Athletics started Thursday in a makeshift clubhouse classroom, among the first major league clubs to undergo mandatory domestic violence training this spring. The 90-minute class included small groups of players discussing the issues in round-table sessions. “It was kind of an open forum, just talking about it and trying to educate us as much as possible on the topics, because we know, obviously, because with the NFL and other sports it’s at the forefront of the media,” A’s reliever Dan Otero said.

• Francisco Rodriguez will be jogging out of the bullpen again for Milwaukee. The veteran closer and the Brewers agreed to a $13 million, two-year contract. Rodriguez, 33, revived his career last season, when he converted 44 of 49 save chances with a 3.04 ERA.

• All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy said the New York Mets have not approached him about a long-term contract. The 29-year-old is eligible for free agency after the World Series.