DETROIT – The idea behind Players Weekend, upcoming at the end of the month, is for major leaguers to reveal a bit of their personality, especially in choosing an alternate name for the back of their jerseys. For the Twins’ many players from Spanish-speaking countries, it’s a way to be known by the names they’ve been called by friends and family all their lives.
Take Jorge Polanco, for example. When he was born in 1993, an uncle admired the baby and called him “Chulo,” which translates more or less to “Pretty Boy.” “Ever since then, it was picked up by my family,” Polanco said. “Everybody in my [Dominican] neighborhood calls me Chulo” — and that includes his wife, Lucero. So Polanco’s uniform No. 11 will say “Chulo” from Aug. 25-27, while the Twins are in Toronto.
Ervin Santana was a basketball player growing up, and his friends in the Dominican Republic called him “Magic,” after the Lakers Hall of Famer, and that’s what he’ll wear this month. “It’s my favorite sport,” Santana said. Is he any good at it? “I’m all right,” he said. “Magic enough.”
That nickname helped Santana, whose real name is Johan and is called Jonathan by most relatives, choose a name when he realized, more than a decade ago during his minor league days, that he didn’t want to be “Johan Santana” in a sport that already had one. So he adopted Ervin, a form of Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s name.
Miguel Sano was known so universally as “Boqueton” — it translates to “Big Mouth” — in the Dominican that he hears it in the stands at Target Field, which is why he chose it. He got the name from a coach when he was 12, and he enjoys the self-deprecation aspect of it.
“It’s awesome. When you have a nickname, it makes you feel like people care for you,” Sano said.
People in Eduardo Escobar’s Venezuelan hometown, El de la Pica, care so much for him, their only big-league player, that he’s been known by that name since he came to America. That’s why he’ll wear it on his uniform. “There are people in my town who have supported me since I was a little kid,” he said. “It makes me proud that I am called that.”
Same goes for fellow Venezuelan Ehire Adrianza, who will wear “Guarenero” for his hometown.
Jose Berrios planned to wear his nickname, “La Machina,” on his back, but MLB rejected it. Berrios said he’s not sure why, though the fact that it’s also Albert Pujols’ nickname probably played a role. So he’ll go with “Orlandito,” a play on his middle name, Orlando.
And Eddie Rosario’s choice of “Bandito”? That’s how he, his brother and his best friends were known collectively in Puerto Rico. “The funny side of it,” he clarified with a laugh, “not actual bandits.”
Enns to start again
Dietrich Enns will get another start next week, probably either Wednesday against the Indians or Saturday against the Diamondbacks, Paul Molitor said Friday, a day after the lefthander’s short-but-decent major league debut.
“There were a lot of good things” in his 2⅓-inning start against the Brewers, Molitor said, in which Enns allowed one earned run and collected a hit in his first-ever plate appearance at any level. “It wasn’t so much that he was pitching poorly enough to get hooked, it was just circumstantial. He got ahead of a lot of people. … We were just at a point in the lineup there where there was enough dangerous matchups.”
• Third base coach Gene Glynn is not with the team this weekend. He left for Austin, Texas, on Friday to attend former player and manager Don Baylor’s funeral Saturday.