Minnesota Twins: Ervin Santana behind schedule

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Ervin Santana
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Ervin Santana /

It’s a long season and the Minnesota Twins are bound to run into plenty of bumps along the way. Earlier this week Minnesota received bad news about the ace of their pitching staff.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana is behind schedule in his rehab from finger surgery earlier this Spring. The expectation was that Santana would return in late April or early May. However, he hasn’t been cleared to throw a baseball and this setback could push his 2018 debut back until June at the earliest.

The Twins are counting on a healthy Santana in their pursuit of a return to the playoffs during the ’18 season. However, this is not a death-blow to Minnesota’s playoff chances, it doesn’t help though. Jose Berrios is blossoming into a star with every start he makes. The front office did its job over the Winter, acquiring Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn, and this team can handle not having Santana.

How will the Twins keep things going until Santana returns

One name to keep an eye on is Adalberto Mejia who is currently pitching with Rochester, the Twins Triple-A affiliate. Mejia had his first real taste of the big leagues during the 2017 season and he showed his inexperience.

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He made 21 starts and had a 4.50 ERA across 98 innings pitched with 85 strikeouts. However, he did walk an alarming 44 batters and that is something he needs to improve upon while playing with Rochester.

The Minnesota Twins also have top pitching prospect Fernando Romero in Triple-A and he will be an option to help fill the void. However, Romero hasn’t pitched above Double-A so he will still need more seasoning before he is ready.

It would be exciting to see Romero in the Twins Cities at some point during this season. That being said, September is probably the earliest we’ll see him with the Twins, if at all this season.

The most logical bet would be on Phil Hughes filling that role for now. Hughes is working his way back from injury and is currently on a Minor League assignment. He should be ready to pitch when he’s eligible to come off of the disabled list.

Next: Taking a look at the Twins Minor League rosters

The Minnesota Twins will survive until Santana returns with the talent that is available. However, they will need Santana to be healthy and pitching well to make a playoff run.