Twins righthander Ervin Santana arrived in the Twin Cities for an appointment with Twins doctors, then flew back to Fort Myers, Fla., after hearing the words he wanted to hear.
He can finally start a throwing program.
Santana, who had surgery to remove a calcium deposit from his middle finger on Feb., 6, has not bounced back as fast as he or the Twins had hoped. It took longer for him to regain full movement of the finger and he also struggled to grip a baseball. The best case scenario was that he could return in 10 weeks following surgery. That can’t happen now, but he could return in early May, which would be at end of the 12-week window.
“We have been going slowly,” manager Paul Molitor said, “and now he’s going to have a chance to get out on the field and play catch in the throwing program and try to get him extended over time.
“It’s early in the process, but at least the baseball part has begun.”
Santana has to go from playing catch a few times to throwing in the bullpen a few times. Then he’ll likely throw live batting practice before beginning a minor league rehabilitation program. Then he’ll be on a spring training-like progression, in which he’ll throw around 30 pitches then add more with each successive outing.
Santana has boasted that he’s a fast healer, which wasn’t the case in this recovery. Now the Twins will be challenged to keep him from accelerating his throwing program too much.
“We have enough confidence in his judgment,” Molitor said, “as well as surrounding him with people who will be monitoring pretty much everything he does.”