FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Ervin Santana showed up to Twins camp on Monday with a dark blue cast on his right hand and will wear it for two weeks before being reevaluated.Santana underwent surgery to remove a calcium deposit from his right middle finger on Feb. 6 and had
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Ervin Santana showed up to Twins camp on Monday with a dark blue cast on his right hand and will wear it for two weeks before being reevaluated.
Santana underwent surgery to remove a calcium deposit from his right middle finger on Feb. 6 and had a follow-up appointment in New York last week to have sutures removed from his finger and stabilized with a hard cast. The 35-year-old right-hander will head back to New York in two weeks to have the cast removed and get more of a feel for when he'll be able to start throwing again.
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Santana would've started for Minnesota on Opening Day for a third straight season, but he's now expected to miss the first two to four weeks of the season. But he said he's only focused on getting healthy right now.
"I'm not thinking about that," Santana said. "I'm just thinking about my health right now. It would be different if I came to Spring Training and got hurt throwing a bullpen."
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Santana said the injury popped up late last season and he could feel it while pitching in the AL Wild Card Game against the Yankees. He felt it only on sliders and changeups, but wouldn't use it as an excuse for giving up four runs in two innings in Minnesota's loss at Yankee Stadium.
"There was a little bit of pain there," Santana said. "But I didn't think about it. I was trying to win."
After the season, Santana was told to rest his finger, but he went to three different hand doctors in late November, December and January before ultimately undergoing the surgery in New York at the recommendation of two of the doctors. The injury could have an affect on Santana's contract status, as his $14 million option for '19 automatically vests if he reaches 200 innings, but he's unlikely to reach that mark now, which would make it a club option.
"I'm more worried about coming back and doing my job than anything I don't have control over," Santana said. "I'm just going to take my time and come back and do my job."
Santana remains hopeful he'll be able to throw shortly after the cast is removed, but he said there still isn't an official date for when he'll get back to throwing.
"I wish I could give you a date like tomorrow," Santana said. "I think I just have to do a couple exercises and get a feel for the ball."
• The Twins held a ceremony to rename their primary practice field as "Stelly Field" in honor of longtime bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, who passed away in November. Stelmaszek is the longest-tenured coach in club history, serving as bullpen coach from 1981-2012.
"We hope this field will be an everlasting tribute to Stelly and the impact he made on our team, and most importantly, our people," Twins president Dave St. Peter said.
Joe Mauer, Kent Hrbek, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Michael Cuddyer, LaTroy Hawkins, Bert Blyleven and Torii Hunter were among those at the ceremony.
"He really did embody what the Minnesota Twins are all about, and he did it for three decades," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Just a very special career. The Twins have a knack to do the right thing, and there's no doubt in my mind that renaming Field 5 to "Stelly Field" is doing the right thing."
• Twins second baseman James Dozier missed the first full-squad workout on Monday because of a kidney stone. He's expected to miss the next few days.
• Right-hander Trevor May, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has progressed to throwing 30-pitch bullpens with all fastballs. He remains on target to return in late May or early June.
• Right-hander Michael Pineda, who is also coming off Tommy John surgery, has progressed to throwing three short sessions at 60 feet. The Twins are hopeful he could return in September.
• Left-hander Stephen Gonsalves is slated to start Minnesota's exhibition game against the University of Minnesota on Thursday at Hammond Stadium at 6:10 p.m. ET. The Twins are expected to start prospects Thursday, with their regulars due to debut once Grapefruit League play begins on Friday against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.
• Former Twins outfielders Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer arrived at Spring Training as special instructors. Former first baseman Justin Morneau will arrive on Wednesday.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.