Ervin Santana’s first pitch Thursday landed in the McCoy Stadium bullpen he had just warmed up in.
Just getting it out of his system, apparently.
Recently demoted Red Sox prospect Rusney Castillo lined a leadoff home run, and former major league journeyman Carlos Peguero launched one of Pawtucket’s longest homers of the season off Santana. But the veteran righthander, making his next-to-last preparatory start for Class AAA Rochester before joining the Twins next week, retired 13 of the final 15 hitters he faced, including the last seven in a row, and earned the victory in the Red Wings’ 6-4 victory at Pawtucket, R.I.
Santana, whose 80-game steroids suspension is scheduled to expire July 4, gave up seven hits and two walks over seven innings, and the pair of homers accounted for all three runs against him. Throwing 97 pitches, Santana also threw two wild pitches and hit a batter, perhaps an indication he is still working on his control after sitting out nearly three months.
Santana, who struck out three and gave up a single and a double to another rehabbing major leaguer, Shane Victorino, will make one more start for Rochester, Tuesday at home, again facing the Paw Sox. He will rejoin the Twins in Kansas City late next week and is expected to make his Twins debut July 5.
Berrios, Kepler picked
Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer each pitched a scoreless inning in the Futures Game at Target Field last July. On Thursday, the same day that Meyer was promoted to the majors, Berrios was invited back to another Futures Game.
Berrios, the ace righthander for Class AA Chattanooga, and Lookouts teammate Max Kepler will represent the Twins on the World Team at this year’s game, July 12 at Cincinnati. Berrios, a 21-year-old Puerto Rican who started the game for the World Team last year, is 7-3 with a 3.23 ERA this season, striking out 86 hitters in 83 innings.
Kepler, a 22-year-old outfielder from Germany, has blossomed this season, his sixth in the Twins’ system. Kepler, batting .342 with 11 stolen bases for the Lookouts, was chosen ahead of other Twins prospects such as Chattanooga teammates Miguel Sano or Adam Brett Walker.
Also selected to the World team: Brewers shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia, brother of Twins minor league outfielder Oswaldo Arcia.
Back in Brewtown
Paul Molitor will wear No. 4 for the Twins on Friday. No one for the Brewers will do the same — because Molitor once did.
Molitor, whose number was retired by the Brewers in 1999, returns to Milwaukee this weekend for the first time as Twins manager, and while “I’m sure it’ll be a little busier than some cities for me,” he downplayed the significance of facing the team he played with for 15 seasons.
“There’s not a lot of faces that have carried over from when I was there, which now was 23 years ago,” the Hall of Famer said. “County Stadium was great to me — kind of a classic older ballpark, not too dissimilar to the old Met.” But that home of the Brewers was torn down in 2001, when Miller Park opened next door.
Still, he said, he always will treasure his days playing in front of the True Blue Brew Crew as one of Harvey’s Wallbangers, and as a key cog to the 1982 AL champions.
“There was just a great atmosphere, particularly in the summer months. The old True Blue Brew Crew, they had good teams for a fair amount of tenure I had there, and they were very loyal,” Molitor said. “We kind of left our mark there. … I will always think positively about those days. It’s 15 years of a lot of good experiences, a lot of good friendships.”