Twins righty Ervin Santana has still not been cleared to resume throwing, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press was among those to report on Twitter. He is rehabbing from early-February finger surgery.
When the procedure was announced, the club suggested that Santana might be ready to pitch in the majors within ten or twelve weeks. That would have suggested a return at some point in late April or early May.
At this point, though, it seems that there could be a delay. Santana may need to have his finger examined again by a specialist, Berardino notes, which seems to hint that things aren’t progressing quite as hoped. Given that the veteran righty will still need to fully rebuild his arm strength and re-prepare for the season after missing all of camp, there’ll be a lag even once he is cleared to begin ramping up.
Just what these developments could mean for Santana and the Twins isn’t yet clear. He could bounce back in relatively short order and provide quite a few innings, perhaps obviating any need to find a permanent replacement. There’s still good reason to anticipate that his $14MM club option for 2019 will prove appealing.
In the meantime, though, the team will need to get by without. Beyond the top four starters — Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, and Lance Lynn — there’s some uncertainty. Potential swingman Phil Hughes is on the DL, as are TJ rehabbers Michael Pineda and Trevor May. There are, though, quite a few upper-level pitchers on the 40-man, most of whom have seen MLB action in the recent past. Tyler Duffey and Adalberto Mejia are the most experienced and could be the first men up.