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Santiago starts with late grandmother on mind

Twins' left-hander will go on bereavement list during series vs. Royals
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Twins lefty Hector Santiago started Wednesday's game against the Rangers with the memory of his late grandmother on his mind. Manuela "Nelly" Rivera passed away Tuesday at the age of 80, and Santiago said in a pregame statement that she will be remembered for her bravery and integrity in raising eight kids in Newark, N.J.

"No matter what, she was always upbeat and positive and always took the high road, always trying to support people and motivate them," Santiago said. "A very high-energy, happy person. Every time you saw her, no matter what the situation was, she had a smile on her face."

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ARLINGTON -- Twins lefty Hector Santiago started Wednesday's game against the Rangers with the memory of his late grandmother on his mind. Manuela "Nelly" Rivera passed away Tuesday at the age of 80, and Santiago said in a pregame statement that she will be remembered for her bravery and integrity in raising eight kids in Newark, N.J.

"No matter what, she was always upbeat and positive and always took the high road, always trying to support people and motivate them," Santiago said. "A very high-energy, happy person. Every time you saw her, no matter what the situation was, she had a smile on her face."

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The left-hander threw five innings of two-run ball in the Twins' 14-3 loss to the Rangers, scattering six hits and four walks. After exiting the game, his ERA stands at an impressive 2.43 through five starts.

Santiago will now go on the bereavement list through the weekend to attend services for his grandmother. Twins manager Paul Molitor said before the game that he and Santiago were able to have a conversation about what she meant to her grandson.

"We talked a little bit about his relationship with her and the significance in his life," Molitor said. "It's tough. He wants to pitch, and it's going to work out for him to pay his respects over the weekend. I'm sure it'll be heavy on his heart."

In Santiago's absence, the Twins will call up a player from Triple-A Rochester.

"It's a situation where you probably try to select someone that can maybe help you win a game, and if it's multiple games, even better," Molitor said. "You can decide whether it's a player or a pitcher or whatever you think is most valuable over the weekend facing the Kansas City Royals."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com.

Minnesota Twins, Hector Santiago