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Command issues continue to plague Santiago

MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Hector Santiago's success in April has been followed by five weeks of struggles, and the lefty and the Twins are trying to figure out why.

A sunny April, which allowed Santiago to post a 2.43 ERA, turned gray in May with a string of shaky outings. Santiago's first start of June, a 12-3 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday, continued his slide, as the left-hander ceded five earned runs in only 2 2/3 innings.

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SEATTLE -- Hector Santiago's success in April has been followed by five weeks of struggles, and the lefty and the Twins are trying to figure out why.

A sunny April, which allowed Santiago to post a 2.43 ERA, turned gray in May with a string of shaky outings. Santiago's first start of June, a 12-3 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday, continued his slide, as the left-hander ceded five earned runs in only 2 2/3 innings.

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Santiago has a 9.93 ERA and an 0-5 record in his last six starts.

Santiago has recently tinkered with his mechanics, according to Twins manager Paul Molitor, and the results thus far have been discouraging.

"When you get in the game, you got to play," Molitor said. "You can't be thinking about mechanics and those type of things. If that's a distraction for him right now, and that's part of the reason his command hasn't been there for him, I don't know."

Santiago is not only walking more batters -- his walk percentage shot up to 12.3 percent since May 1 from 6.5 percent in April, he's serving up home runs at a high clip. Of the 14 home runs he's given up this season -- the sixth most in the American League -- 11 have come in his last six starts.

"It seems like every time I miss over the plate, they're hitting them," Santiago said. "I think that's the goal of the big leagues, to be as fine as you can and to be as good as you can be, and those guys are supposed to hit those mistakes. And right now, they're hitting them pretty good."

Are opposing batters solving Santiago? He insists that not the case and he's just not executing his stuff.

"I'm just missing location," Santiago said. "I'm missing over the middle of the plate. I don't think it has anything to do with my stuff. … I still had four strikeouts against these guys, it's just every time I missed over the plate is when they got me. And it wasn't even that many hits, I put myself in bad situations with the walks."

Worth noting

• Twins reliever Alex Wimmers was pegged with a line drive, with a 103.5 mph exit velocity, in his right calf by Guillermo Heredia in the fifth inning.

"Thankfully, it got pretty much all calf muscle," Molitor said. "I'm sure it's pretty sore right about now. He'll probably have to deal with some soreness for a couple of days, and we'll see how he responds."

He stayed in the game and got two more out before being relieved by Craig Breslow.

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Twins on Tuesday.

Minnesota Twins, Hector Santiago