MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received some good news on Tuesday regarding the health status of veteran right-hander Ervin Santana.Santana, who underwent surgery on the middle finger of his throwing hand on Feb. 5, received a positive prognosis from team doctors and a local hand specialist, Dr. Thomas Varecka. Santana is
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received some good news on Tuesday regarding the health status of veteran right-hander Ervin Santana.
Santana, who underwent surgery on the middle finger of his throwing hand on Feb. 5, received a positive prognosis from team doctors and a local hand specialist, Dr. Thomas Varecka. Santana is scheduled to begin a throwing program in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday.
"I would say it's a positive step," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "We've had communications with our doctors, as well as doctor Varecka here in town. [Santana] is heading back to Florida and will start his throwing program tomorrow."
The 35-year-old went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA and led the Majors in shutouts last season. His surgery was performed to remove calcium deposits in his middle finger.
"It's good news in that, you know, we've been going slowly and now he's going to have a chance to get on the field and start playing catch with a throwing program," Molitor said. "We'll try to get him extended over time, but it's early in the process, so at least the baseball process has begun."
Santana was slated to be Minnesota's Opening Day starter before the surgery, and the Twins have so far functioned with a four-man starting rotation. There is still no official timetable for his return.
Slegers makes season debut
Several of the Twins' Minor League affiliates have been hindered by weather early in the season. On Monday, the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings made their season debut.
Twins prospect Aaron Slegers got the start and held opposing Syracuse to one run on five hits over six innings. It was a strong debut for a player who could make his way onto the Twins' roster at some point this season.
"Lots of first-pitch strikes," Molitor said of Sleger's outing. "Percentages of offspeed pitches in the zone were pretty good, too. You'll take that. I'm sure for that team in general, it's just nice to play after eight or nine days."
Sleger is 43-29 with a 3.48 ERA over six seasons in his professional career. He was 0-1 with a 6.46 ERA in four appearances, including three starts, with the Twins in 2017.
Hughes to throw bullpen session
Phil Hughes is expected to throw a bullpen session in Fort Myers on Wednesday in order to prepare for a potential start with the Twins on Friday. The 31-year-old right-hander is on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, but he could rejoin the club for the second game of its home series with the White Sox.
Friday would be the first instance that the Twins would need a fifth starter this season.
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com.