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Inbox: What will Twins do at Deadline?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers questions from fans
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- After winning series against the first-place Indians and Red Sox, the Twins continued their inconsistent ways, losing two out of three to the last-place Rangers over the weekend.

The Indians have also heated up, winning seven in a row, leaving the Twins eight games back of Cleveland, entering Monday's off-day. The Twins have an uphill battle to get back into contention, which leads into the first question of this week's Inbox.

MINNEAPOLIS -- After winning series against the first-place Indians and Red Sox, the Twins continued their inconsistent ways, losing two out of three to the last-place Rangers over the weekend.

The Indians have also heated up, winning seven in a row, leaving the Twins eight games back of Cleveland, entering Monday's off-day. The Twins have an uphill battle to get back into contention, which leads into the first question of this week's Inbox.

Tweet from @nguyenhv91: Buyer or seller at trade deadline?

General manager Thad Levine told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand last week that the Twins are still monitoring the situation and haven't decided whether they're clear-cut buyers or sellers just yet. But with the way things are trending, Minnesota appears more likely to sell than buy, unless it goes on a run in July.

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If the Twins do sell, they have several players in the last year of their deals, including Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn, Fernando Rodney, Logan Morrison and Ervin Santana. Minnesota does hold options on Rodney, Morrison and Santana for next year, and the club will also have to decide whether a compensatory pick in next year's Draft is more valuable than trading a player such as Dozier or Escobar if they were to walk away in free agency.

Dozier and Morrison have both struggled offensively, which hurts their trade value, especially Morrison, while Joe Mauer is also in the last year of his deal, but he holds a no-trade clause so he's not going anywhere.

Tweet from @ngunder2: Santana won���t reach his innings total for his option to automatically be picked up. If he comes back and pitches well, can the Twins still pick up the option, or will he be a free agent after this year no matter what? And would that make him trade bait if he won���t be back

Santana's $14 million option is now a club option, but it doesn't seem likely to be picked up with his injury this season, as he's still out after surgery in February on his right middle finger. Santana threw his second live bullpen session on Monday and is nearing a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, but he's still a few weeks away from returning. His fastball velocity has yet to hit 90 mph, so it's clear he still has to get comfortable with the finger and build arm strength.

With Santana not likely to return until mid-July, he's not really a trade candidate before the Deadline. The Twins could still decide to bring him back next year, but at a lesser rate than the option.

Tweet from @BryzTwinkieTown: Who takes Romero's rotation spot? Gonsalves hasn't been that great in Triple-A, so perhaps Mejia?

After the somewhat surprising decision to option rookie Fernando Romero to Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, Adalberto Mejia is the most likely candidate to join the rotation. Minnesota can move up Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios because of Monday's off-day, which would mean it won't need a fifth starter until Saturday.

Mejia is lined up to start with Rochester on Saturday and has been pitching well, posting a 2.91 ERA with 46 strikeouts and 14 walks in 43 1/3 innings. He has a 1.38 ERA in four starts in June, going at least six innings each time out.

Lefty Stephen Gonsalves, the club's No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has a 4.56 ERA at Triple-A and was hurt by a rough start on June 11, giving up nine runs in four innings. He could be called up later in the season, but Mejia is much more likely to be recalled this time.

Tweet from @javanolmscheid1: How soon does Royce get promoted?

Shortstop Royce Lewis, last year's No. 1 overall pick and the No. 13 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline, is nearing a promotion to Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Fellow top prospect Alex Kirilloff, the No. 71 overall prospect, just moved up to Fort Myers, and he has been incredibly impressive offensively so far.

Lewis, who has been dealing with a minor knee injury, is expected to join Kirilloff in Fort Myers soon, especially now that he already participated in the Midwest League All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Tweet from @dockendorf_19: what���s going on with Trevor May? When is he coming back?

Right-hander Trevor May completed his rehab from Tommy John surgery on June 7, getting activated at Triple-A Rochester. But he struggled with his command there and went on the Minor League disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on June 14.

Coming back from Tommy John surgery can be tricky, so the Twins will remain cautious with May. The good news is May tweeted Sunday night that he's getting close to a return, and he's starting to feel like he did pre-surgery. 

Tweet from @IamTrevorMay: It���s been 15 months since I felt like I was close to the player I could be.I���m starting to get that feeling again, and it���s lighting that 🔥.It���s not easy taking what feels like 20 steps back in your career and being patient. But it���s necessary.The work never ends, friends.

Tweet from @kirkusmaximus: Why is Sano only playing once in awhile in fort Myers? What is their plan with him while he is there?

Miguel Sano is playing every other day in Fort Myers, Fla., as the days he's not in the lineup, he's working on his conditioning and participating in drills to help both his offense and defense. It's clear that his offseason surgery to insert a titanium rod in his left shin affected his ability to condition properly heading into the season, which created bad habits, especially with his hitting mechanics related to the lower half of his body.

There's no official timetable for his return, as Minnesota will continue to monitor Sano and make sure he's in a good place with his offense and conditioning before he returns.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

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