Brian Dozier was available to pinch hit on Tuesday, but Paul Molitor chose not to use him. Dozier wasn’t taking any chances on Wednesday.
“He came in and said he felt significantly better,” Molitor said after restoring Dozier to his usual spot atop the Twins’ lineup following two days off. “We saw a lot of improvement [in his sore back] yesterday. I know he went through a lot of treatment just to make sure he could get that back as loose as possible. He should be fine.”
The Twins have been fine without him, oddly. Dozier sat out the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader in Kansas City, then both of the first two games against the Angels here in Target Field — and the Twins won all three.
Meanwhile, the Twins will have righthander Alan Busenitz available tonight, after putting Hector Santiago back on the disabled list Wednesday morning with a sore upper back. Busenitz, who has allowed two earned runs over 8 2/3 innings so far this season, was optioned back to Class AAA Rochester after Friday’s game. But because he’s being recalled due to an injury, he doesn’t have to wait the required 10 days before he can be recalled.
Santiago was not at Target Field during batting practice, having been sent for a magnetic resonance imaging test on his left shoulder. He reported “something wasn’t right” in his shoulder during a bullpen session on Tuesday, and the discomfort hadn’t gone away a day later. Santiago had started only twice, both unsuccessfully, since returning from the disabled list with a shoulder strain.
“This one is a little bit different,” Molitor said. “As best as we know now, he’s dealing with some things in his upper mid-back and his posterior shoulder, and that causes a little more concern than last time, when we shut him down for awhile. … It’s time to get it more thoroughly examined.”
In the meantime, Ervin Santana makes his final start before his trip to the All-Star Game next week in Miami, and he’ll try to end the inconsistency he’s pitched with lately. Santana started six games in June, allowing zero runs in two of them, but he gave up five or more runs in the other four, without lasting more than 5 1/3 innings.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s finale as the Twins try to complete a sweep of the Angels:
Y. Escobar 3B
E. Escobar 3B