CHICAGO Ervin Santanas visit to the Twins hand specialist didnt go as well as hoped on Tuesday, and while further tests have been scheduled, Twins manager Paul Molitor said, its becoming a little less likely hes going to pitch here again in 2018.
Santana had x-rays taken of his pitching hand Tuesday after an examination by Dr. Thomas Varecka in Minneapolis, Molitor said, and there was some concern about what he saw. Santana will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Wednesday, and the Twins dont want to make any decisions or announcements about his status until the results of the MRI are in.
But Santana, who went on the disabled list Sunday after reporting increasing discomfort in his right middle finger, appears unlikely to be cleared to pitch again anytime soon. Im not sure where its going to go, Molitor said. Theres going to be communication from people that have seen him in the past, to Dr. Varecka, to our [medical] staff, and try to come to some kind of consensus [about] what the next step is going to be.
After undergoing surgery to remove calcium deposits in early February, Santana, 35, missed nearly four months of the season. He pitched only five times for the Twins, between July 25 and Aug. 16, and the results werent encouraging: an 8.03 ERA, a fastball that averaged only 89 mph, and, he revealed this week, a return of the pain in his finger.
The Twins own a $14 million option on next year, but are likely to pay a $1 million buyout instead and allow Santana to become a free agent.
On the field, its Michael Kopech Day at Guaranteed Rate Field, with Chicagos highly regarded pitching prospect, acquired when Chicago traded Chris Sale to Boston, making his major-league debut.
Theres plenty of hype around the city for the righthander, who will face Jose Berrios for the Twins, but Molitor said the Twins hitters wont be awed.
I dont know if its going to mean a lot to Joe Mauer to face this guys debut today, Molitor said. But his names out there. Everybody knows about this kid. Hopefully its memorable for him, in maybe not such a positive way.
Here are the lineups for tonights game: