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Finger injury might end Santana's season

August 21, 2018

CHICAGO -- Ervin Santana's finger injury already cost him several months of the season. Now it appears he might not pitch again in 2018.Santana saw hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka and underwent X-rays on his right middle finger Tuesday, with Varecka expressing "concern about what he saw," Twins manager Paul

CHICAGO -- Ervin Santana's finger injury already cost him several months of the season. Now it appears he might not pitch again in 2018.
Santana saw hand specialist Dr. Thomas Varecka and underwent X-rays on his right middle finger Tuesday, with Varecka expressing "concern about what he saw," Twins manager Paul Molitor said before Tuesday's game with the White Sox. Santana will have an MRI tomorrow, but it is "becoming a little less likely he'll pitch here the remainder of the season."
"I'm not sure where it's going to go," Molitor said. "There's going to be communication from people that have seen him in the past, to Dr. Varecka, to our staff and try to come to some kind of consensus on what's the next step for him."
The Twins placed Santana on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with "reoccurring symptoms related to his original injury to his third finger MCP joint on his right hand."
Santana had surgery on the finger in February and was only supposed to miss a month of the regular season at most. But the injury continued to linger, and Santana has thrown only 24 2/3 innings this season in five starts since July 25.
A 16-game winner a year ago, Santana is 0-1 with an 8.03 ERA, walking nine and striking out 16.
GONSALVES 'AFFECTED' BY MAJOR LEAGUE ATMOSPHERE
Stephen Gonsalves couldn't make it out of the second inning in his MLB debut Monday against the White Sox, and said afterward that he had nerves on the mound, including his back leg shaking in the first inning.
On Tuesday, Molitor concurred with Gonsalves' statements.
"As much as I think he's got a pretty cool, calm demeanor, there was obviously an effect of being here for the first time in a Major League game, and not Spring Training," Molitor said. "That's not necessarily a bad thing or a knock, it's just kind of the reality of it sinking in. You're out there and you've got a lot of time to think and you look up and see your parents and your fiancee, in a big league stadium.
"That's my take on it, I think it affected him."
Gonsalves, Minnesota'sNo. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was charged with four runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings Monday, needing 55 pitches. The lefty, drafted in the fourth round of 2013's MLB Draft, owned a 1.27 ERA in his previous 11 starts at Triple-A Rochester.
Despite the poor outing, he will stay in the rotation, Molitor said.
"There's a lesson to be learned in everything you do -- good, bad, first, 100th, whatever," Molitor said. "It's up to the individual to apply those lessons and make yourself a better person and a better player. So we'll see. He's going to be back out there."
TWINS POWER SURGING
Over their last five games, the Twins have hit 15 home runs, bringing their total to 131 this season.
But that recent power binge still puts Minnesota 12th in the American League in homers. Nonetheless, new acquisition Christopher Austin doesn't seem to mind.
"For the most part, everyone's been swinging at good pitches, that's the big thing," said Austin, who hit two of the homers. "When you get a lineup with this much talent and you swing at good pitches, good things will happen."
Molitor added that the Twins have been "reliant" on power this season, and that his players are trying to finish the season as strongly as possible.
"The majority of our runs scored over the last stretch has been from the power, which is good," Molitor said. "There are different times of the season where your team is going to find different ways to compete offensively."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.