Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ervin Santana was seated at his locker early Monday morning, seemingly lost deep in thought as Pearl Jam's "Rearviewmirror" blasted through the Twins clubhouse. Moments later, closer Fernando Rodney walked over with a silver sharpie and jarred his friend from his reverie. With a flourish that was punctuated by his No. 56, Rodney added his autograph to the black cast on Santana's right arm. "Ace 54," it reads right above Rodney's signature, courtesy of Twins utility man Ehire Adrianza.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins' decision to sign slugger Logan Morrison apparently had nothing to do with any recent health setbacks for incumbent first baseman Joe Mauer or third baseman Miguel Sano. Mauer is "doing great," Twins manager Paul Molitor said, and is scheduled to make his spring debut on Wednesday at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. Sano is penciled in for third base in the same split-squad game, which will enable him to skip long bus rides for back-to-back games across the state.
SARASOTA, Fla. — Tom "Flash" Gordon spent 21 seasons pitching for eight clubs in the major leagues, finishing up with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009. Since his retirement, however, the three-time all-star has focused on helping his sons, Dee and Nick, achieve their baseball dreams. That's why his newest role — as unofficial pitching coach for manager Bo Porter at the free-agent workout camp in nearby Bradenton — is so rewarding.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Miguel Sano strolled into the Twins' clubhouse a little before 1 on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24. Spotting a familiar face on the way to his locker, the Twins slugger stopped in his tracks, broke into a big grin and threw a bear hug on newly signed utility infielder Erick Aybar. Sano dropped his bag and immediately pulled up a chair next to Aybar's locker for an extended conversation. Even after Sano headed over to get dressed in baseball gear, they were chatting loudly in Spanish from nine lockers apart. There was lots of laughter.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins and the cash-strapped Tampa Bay Rays had plenty of trade conversations throughout the offseason. Saturday evening, Feb. 17, all those cell minutes and text messages finally bore fruit. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who turns 28 just before Opening Day, will make the short drive from Port Charlotte, Florida, to Fort Myers to join his new team. In exchange for Odorizzi, who won his arbitration hearing this week and will make $6.3 million this season, the Twins gave up only Class A shortstop Jermaine Palacios.
MINNEAPOLIS — When Tyler Duffey gave up the No. 56 jersey he had worn for the Twins since 2015, he didn't ask Fernando Rodney for any monetary compensation. Duffey, a fellow right-hander now wearing No. 21, didn't ask Rodney, the Twins' 40-year-old closer, to make a donation to his favorite charity or buy him a new set of golf clubs. Instead, Duffey requested a tutorial that could wind up providing substantially more value.
The Twins are still looking for an impact pitcher to boost the top of their starting rotation. In the meantime, they decided to give the way-back machine a whirl with the signing of former Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez, pending a physical.
Twins all-star right-hander Ervin Santana underwent surgery on his right middle finger Tuesday, the team announced, and could be out until early May. Santana, 35, experienced discomfort in the finger last week after ramping up his bullpen sessions in advance of spring training. He had dealt with the issue in the past, according to the team, and underwent an X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging exam at the end of the 2017 season.
MINNEAPOLIS — Most of Jim Thome's 612 career home runs were no-doubters, clearing the wall with ease. The same apparently goes for his first crack at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The former Twins slugger, who played here in 2010-11, was polling at 93-percent support with more than half the expected votes known, according to Ryan Thibodaux's Hall of Fame ballot tracker. Hall election requires 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America, which will announce this year's class on Wednesday, Jan. 24.
MINNEAPOLIS — Veteran left-hander Buddy Boshers, who made 75 appearances out of the Twins' bullpen the past two years, was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros on Monday, Jan. 22. Boshers, 29, had been designated for release or assignment last week to make room for newly signed reliever Addison Reed. Boshers becomes the second situational lefty the Twins have lost via waivers this offseason to the past two World Series champions. In November they lost Double-A lefty Randy Rosario to the Chicago Cubs, who won it all in 2016.