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Santana tops Twins on HOF ballot

Lefty is first-time candidate; Thome, Hernandez, Hudson other ex-Twins up for induction
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana and slugger Jim Thome, who hit career homer No. 600 with the Twins in 2011, are both on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, as announced on Monday.

Other first-time candidates who played with the Twins include right-hander Livan Hernandez, closer Brian Fuentes and infielder Orlando Hudson. The Twins don't have any former players returning on the ballot.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana and slugger Jim Thome, who hit career homer No. 600 with the Twins in 2011, are both on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, as announced on Monday.

Other first-time candidates who played with the Twins include right-hander Livan Hernandez, closer Brian Fuentes and infielder Orlando Hudson. The Twins don't have any former players returning on the ballot.

Santana, memorably acquired by the Twins via the Rule 5 Draft before the 2000 season, was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his time in Minnesota, winning 93 games and posting a 3.22 ERA with 1,381 strikeouts in 1,308 innings during his eight seasons with the Twins. He won the Cy Young Award in 2004 and '06, and was named an All-Star three times while with Minnesota.

Santana was traded to the Mets before the 2008 season and had a 3.18 ERA in four seasons with the Mets. He finished third in the balloting for the NL Cy Young Award in '08 and was an All-Star in '09, but injuries ended his career after the '12 season.

Santana finished his career with a 3.20 ERA, 139 wins and 1,988 strikeouts in 2,025 2/3 innings. But his lack of longevity is expected to hurt him in the balloting, as he only played parts of 12 seasons.

Thome, who played with the Twins in 2010 and '11, has a stronger case, as the first baseman was a career .276/.402/.554 hitter with 612 homers and 1,699 RBIs in 22 seasons with the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Twins, Dodgers and Orioles. The five-time All-Star had a huge year for the Twins in 2010, hitting .283/.412/.627 with 25 homers in 108 games.

Video: MIN@DET: Thome crushes his 600th career homer

Thome hit 12 homers in 71 games with the Twins in '11, including No. 600 against the Tigers in Detroit on Aug. 15, before being traded to the Indians late in the season. He was a fan favorite during his time in Minnesota and was considered a gentle giant and a great teammate during his career. He ranks eighth in Major League history in career homers.

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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