Santana is undergoing PRP treatments to his right middle finger and will not pitch again in 2018, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Manager Paul Molitor indicated Aug. 20 the possibility of Santana being done for the season, and his continued treatment makes it an easy decision with the season drawing to a close. The Twins seem likely to exercise the $1 million buyout in the 36-year-old's contract this offseason instead of retaining him for $14 million in 2019. Santana made only five starts this season, allowing 22 runs across 24.2 innings, and he gave up nine home runs as well.
Twins manager Paul Molitor seemed to acknowledge the possibility that Santana (finger) might be shut down for the season, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. "I don't know when the next time he's going to pitch will be," Molitor said of the right-hander, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday. Santana was shut down after experiencing renewed pain in the middle finger on his right hand, which required surgery in February. The procedure delayed Santana's season debut until after the All-Star break, with the 35-year-old delivering a dismal 8.03 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 24.2 innings. Santana has notably suffered from a loss in velocity as a result of the procedure, with his four-seam fastball averaging 89.4 miles per hour over his five starts, per Brooks Baseball, a decline of four miles per hour from his 2017 average. With the Twins likely to exercise the $1 million buyout in Santana's contract this winter rather than picking up his $14 million for 2019, there isn't much incentive for the team to bring him back in September and hand him starts at the expense of younger rotation options that are under team control beyond this season. In any case, the Twins should have an idea whether Santana can even realistically pitch again in 2018 once he's evaluated by a hand specialist Tuesday, according to Berardino.
Santana was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday due to recurring discomfort related to the original injury he suffered to his right middle finger prior to spring training, Dan Hayes of The Athletic Minnesota reports. The 35-year-old required surgery in early February to address the issue, resulting in him opening the season on the 60-day DL before he debuted July 25. Though he was ostensibly healthy, Santana's velocity was down significantly in his five starts for the Twins, resulting in him turning in a 8.03 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over 24.2 innings before Minnesota opted to shut him down again. With the Twins not in contention for the postseason, it wouldn't be surprising if Santana was shuttered for the rest of 2018 as the team looks to assess younger rotation options. Stephen Gonsalves was recalled from Triple-A Rochester in a corresponding move and will replace Santana in the rotation Monday against the White Sox.
Santana (0-1) took the loss Friday as the Twins dropped a 5-3 decision to the Tigers, coughing up five runs on three hits and two walks over six innings while striking out five. All three hits Santana allowed went for extra bases -- a pair of two-run homers by Niko Goodrum and Jose Iglesias, plus a triple by JaCoby Jones. The veteran hurler's return from a finger injury has been a rough one so far, and he now carries a 6.53 ERA through four starts. He'll next take the mound Thursday at home in a rematch against Detroit.
Santana allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk across 4.1 innings in a no-decision Sunday against the Royals. He struck out three. Santana gave up a two-run home run in the first inning and allowed another run in the fifth when he allowed three consecutive singles to start the frame. He was removed shortly after, neutralizing his eligibility to earn a win and limiting him to his shortest outing since returning from a finger injury. Santana owns an unsightly 6.14 ERA through 14.2 innings over three starts this year and will need to shake off the rust before he regains some sort of fantasy utility. His next opportunity to do that will come Friday against the Tigers.