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Article: Twins Trying to Sustain Excellence

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:34 AM
If you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed at the close of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, I’m sure you’re not the only Minnesota Twins fan i...
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Article: Now Available! 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect...

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:41 PM
UPDATE- The 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is now available!Paperback versions of the 161 page book will cost $17.99 this year.El...
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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:32 PM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Harold Baines and Lee Smith are Hall of Famers

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:25 PM
MLB announced tonight that a 16-person committee decided that DH Harold Baines and RP Lee Smith are now Hall of Famers.   Here is th...
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Where does the talent come from

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:05 PM
So I did back of the napkin math only here but looked at three recent WS teams to see how they constructed their teams. I only added up t...
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Opening Day Assignment Changes Nothing For Ervin Santana

It has taken twelve years in the majors but Ervin Santana can finally add Opening Day Starter to his resume. With a Cheshire smile on his face, Santana says he took the news in stride.

“It feels good,” Santana admitted but then quickly downplayed the significance of the assignment. “To me, it's great but I take it as another start and I just prepare for the day. Same game. Nothing changes. I just have that in my mind and go up there and perform.”

The 2016 season will starting significantly differently for Santana after missing the first 80 games last year when he tested positive for PEDs. And this year he hopes to set the tone for the season in a more meaningful way: By picking up where he left off.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement
Santana's track record has earned him the right to usher in the new season. When his suspension was up, he struggled to get up to speed, posting an ugly 6.05 ERA in his first 10 games. However from the end of August forward, no Twins starter had worked as deep into games and had as much success as Santana did over his last seven outings in 2015. In fact, in that time only Chicago’s Jake Arrieta (0.33 ERA) and Cleveland’s Cody Anderson (1.38 ERA) posted lower ERAs than Santana. Only Arrieta allowed fewer home runs per nine innings. Based on that, the Twins made the easy decision heading into spring training that -- barring any unforeseen circumstances -- Santana would be handed the pearl in Baltimore.

“It was kind of conversations with [pitching coach] Neil [Allen] prior to spring training, beginning of spring training,” Paul Molitor said of the decision to set the rotation the way they did. “You know you have to set it up somehow, some way. You can always adjust early according to injuries or something that becomes apparent. How they're throwing the baseball. We kind of thought that order made sense at the beginning if everyone was healthy.”

With Santana leading the rotation, Molitor said that he would be followed by Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes in Baltimore but refrained from announcing his fourth and fifth starters.

Molitor mentioned the uncertainty surrounding Phil Hughes, who was coming off a “sub-par” season, as the reason why he was dropped to third in the rotation. Hughes has suffered from recurring issues with a disc in his lower back but said that since he received an epidural, the disc has been able to heal and has responded well this spring. The right-hander has been consistently sitting at 90-92 in his starts and has struck out nine over 11 innings in Grapefruit action.

Ervin Santana will be the eighth different Opening Day starter for the Minnesota Twins since the 2006 season. Since then only Carl Pavano (2011, 2012) and Johan Santana (2005, 2006) have thrown in multiple Opening Days.

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