Patrick Reusse
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Ervin Santana went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA and pitched 211⅓ innings in an All-Star effort for the Twins in 2017. There was some discomfort in the middle finger of his right hand late in the season, and he lasted only two innings in a mysterious, losing effort vs. the Yankees in a wild-card game.

The discomfort still was there when he started early throwing in late January, and Santana underwent surgery Feb. 5 — four months after he pitched against the Yankees.

You know what the Twins, according to their 2018 advertising campaign, say about that?

“This is how we baseball.”

The Twins, well behind the curve when it comes to power arms in the bullpen, placed J.T. Chargois, 27, and his high 90s fastball on waivers Feb. 23. He was claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, they made some changes with him (including his placement on the mound), and could not believe their luck in getting this potent arm.

Nine weeks later, the Twins claimed David Hale, 30, and a fastball that tops out at 91 miles per hour from the Yankees.

“This is how we baseball.”

Shortstop Jorge Polanco had a rough July in 2017 as he dealt with the emotions of his grandfather’s death, returned to the lineup full-time on Aug. 2, and batted .316 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI over the final two months of the season.

It was all optimism for Polanco in Fort Myers, and then he started kicking the ball around at shortstop.

“What’s going on with Polanco?” media types were asking.

The “he’ll be fine” answers turned into something more dramatic on March 18 when it was announced Polanco would miss the first half of the season (80 games) because of testing positive for steroids.

“This is how we baseball.”

Miguel Sano showed up for spring training on Feb. 19 looking huge, with 293 pounds as his rumored weigh-in number. The Twins offered him the out that recovery from surgery to place a small rod in a shin had prevented Sano from working out.

Sano also was facing an MLB investigation for sexual misconduct alleged to have taken place in 2015. Eventually, the allegation went unproven and Sano faced no discipline, but it further accelerated his decline from “future of the franchise” in the late summer of 2015 to a huge question mark.

For instance: Miguel has struck out in 41.5 percent of his at-bats — the highest rate for a non-pitcher in major league history.

“This is how we baseball.”

Jake Odorizzi made his Twins debut in the season opener in Baltimore on March 29. He allowed two hits in six scoreless innings. Zach Duke also made his Twins debut in the seventh. He had four strikeouts in the inning and somehow the Orioles scored two runs.

Much later, Adam Jones walked it off with an 11th-inning home run off new Twins closer Fernando Rodney.

“This is how we baseball.”

The Twins opened the season at home April 5. The game-time temperature was 38 degrees. The traditional patriotic zeal included an appearance by Challenger, the overworked, rescued bald eagle that was supposed to fly from a perch in center field to his handler at home plate as the national anthem concluded.

Challenger detoured and landed high on the back of Seattle starter James Paxton, who was standing in left field after doing some stretching. That should have been a sign.

The Twins played again that Saturday, with a game-time temperature of 27 degrees, and were snowed out for three games the following weekend.

Opening homestand: Six games played, four postponed.

“This is how we baseball.”

The Twins left the Minnesota blizzard for two “home” games in San Juan vs. Cleveland. Byron Buxton was out of the lineup because of a migraine headache. The Twins won the second game in 16 innings, a game so long that both Duke and Joe Mauer went from age 34 to 35 before it was over.

The Twins claimed to have been energized by the 16-inning game. They then went to Tampa Bay and lost three in a row to the lowly Rays. The term “walkoff” also reached a new absurdity while they were under the roof in St. Petersburg:

A pitcher-misses-first walkoff, when Duke didn’t touch the bag in the bottom of the 10th and the Rays scored for an 8-7 victory.

“This is how we baseball.”

The Twins journeyed to Yankee Stadium and lost four straight by various means — the last coming after Sano stumbled and made a lousy throw to start a bottom-of-ninth rally, and then Rodney served up a three-run game loser to Gary Sanchez.

Which is pretty much how the Twins always baseball in the Bronx.

Meantime, Buxton now is trying to recover from fouling a baseball off his toe in some goofy rehab (from migraines?) moment in Fort Myers, and Santana remains behind schedule, and you have baserunners being lost on delayed-steal attempts vs. an opposing pitcher plagued by control problems.

I blame all of these bad happenings on this:

A pox placed on the Twins — by Laure Lemmerman of Fulda, Minn. and every other teacher devoted to instructing us in English — for authorizing the use of “baseball” as a verb.

Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. •