Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
MIAMI — When Miguel Sano steps into the batter's box and Ervin Santana climbs atop the pitcher's mound Tuesday night at Marlins Park, they won't just be representing the Twins at the All-Star Game. They will be representing their native Dominican Republic, which has sent 13 players to this year's midsummer classic. The Twins join the New York Yankees (three) and Seattle Mariners (two) as the only big-league teams with multiple 2017 all-stars from that baseball-rich nation.
MINNEAPOLIS—In long, dull game for a solid Target Field crowd, the highlight was a pop out. Twins rookie Zack Granite popped out to left as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, but it was an 11-pitch at-bat against right-hander Mychal Givens that started with an 0-2 count. It was Granite's first appearance in a major league game. "I missed the first two pitches," he said. "It felt like he was throwing 112 (mph)."
MINNEAPOLIS — Struggling left-hander Hector Santiago has returned to the disabled list for the second time in a month, this time with what the Twins are calling upper thoracic back pain and discomfort. He spent three weeks on the disabled list in June with a strained left shoulder, but even with a three-inning rehab outing at Triple-A Rochester his results have not improved. Santiago was scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Wednesday night, July 5.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Twins' second baseman wanted to play, ailing back or not. Paul Molitor wasn't swayed. He stuck by his plan to sit Dozier for the third time in four games after running him out there for 47 starts in 48 games, dating to a sprained left ankle in early May. "Brian's one guy who wants to play every day if possible," Molitor said. "It's hard for him to sit when he thinks he's got a chance to go."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As expected, the Twins reached agreement Sunday with 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte, according to multiple people with direct knowledge. His signing bonus will be $3 million, pending a physical exam yet to be scheduled. Sunday marked the opening of the international signing period for 2017-18. The next step is for the Twins to secure a visa for Marte so he can be examined by team doctors.
BOSTON — Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was asked if he had any predictions for his first home run derby at any level when he gets to Miami next month. "Yeah," he said with a smile Thursday afternoon, June 29. "I need to win every time." Sano joined Miami Marlins slugger and reigning champion Giancarlo Stanton as the only confirmed participants for the July 10 event. Sano leads the Twins with 18 home runs, many of them tape-measure shots, and is on pace to obliterate the career-best 25 he hit last season.
BOSTON — Phil Hughes, finishing out a minor league rehab assignment, was supposed to pitch two innings of relief for Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday and fly from Buffalo to Kansas City on Thursday. Instead, he got the call at 1:45 a.m. to rejoin the Twins in Boston, where a pair of rain delays had forced them to get six innings from their bullpen in Tuesday's 9-2 loss. "Just happy to be back and contribute in whatever way I can," Hughes said. "It's all good."
BOSTON—Twins slugger Kennys Vargas had pseudo-brushes with two of his baseball mentors on this latest trip to Fenway Park. Over the weekend, while the Twins were in Cleveland, the Boston Red Sox retired David Ortiz's No. 34. It is now displayed above the right-field grandstand along with the 10 other retired numbers for the franchise, right between Wade Boggs' No. 26 and Jackie Robinson's No. 42, retired throughout the majors. Ortiz was a vocal supporter of Vargas, dating to his time at Class A Fort Myers. It's a friendship that continues to this day.
BOSTON — Ervin Santana won't take anything for granted, but the Twins' ace doesn't attempt to hide his interest in making his second career trip to the All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami. "It means a lot," said Santana, 34. "For my career, it means a lot. It would be another good experience in my career, another all-star game. It would be a blessing and enjoyable."
CLEVELAND — Phil Hughes celebrated his 31st birthday with a scoreless inning of relief on Saturday in his second rehab outing for Triple-A Rochester. Attempting to convert back to a bullpen role in the wake of shoulder issues, Hughes worked at 90-92 mph with his fastball and showed good depth with his curveball. He gave up a single and walked one with one strikeout on 21 pitches (16 strikes). No decisions had been made on when to recall Hughes.