SEATTLE – Hector Santiago played catch Wednesday, and said he felt fine.
“Not great, not as good as I want it to be, but OK,” the lefthander said. “I could go out and pitch right now.”
The Twins, having seen Santiago’s velocity begin to drop and his home run totals on the rise, would prefer he take a break, particularly since he reported having difficulty getting loose for his start Tuesday, a 2 ⅔-inning debacle that produced his fifth consecutive loss. So Santiago was placed on the 10-day disabled list; he’ll return to Minneapolis on Thursday to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test on his achy left shoulder.
“I don’t think it’s anything major,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We have a lot of season to go, and with the fact that we have a 10-day DL at our disposal, it’s the right thing to get him back to 100 percent.”
Santiago’s ERA has ballooned from 2.43 in April, when he was one of the more effective pitchers in the league, to 5.26 now, and the Twins have noticed his velocity declining by a mile per hour or two. He has given up 11 home runs in his past 22 innings, too. Santiago knows his shoulder is tired, but doesn’t believe he’ll need more than 10 days to bounce back.
“It’s not something that worries me,” he said. “It makes sense to be careful not to make anything worse.”
Chris Heston, a righthander who pitched the second no-hitter in Citi Field history almost exactly two years ago, was claimed off waivers by the Twins and summoned immediately to Seattle for Wednesday’s game.
• Kennys Vargas reported to the Twins on Wednesday, called up to replace Jorge Polanco while the shortstop is on the bereavement list. Polanco’s grandfather died Tuesday.
• Righthander Justin Haley, on the disabled list because of shoulder stiffness, has begun a throwing program and will be ready to begin a rehab assignment soon, Molitor said.
• The Twins announced a long-term contract extension with Delaware North Sportservice, which manages food and beverage concessions at Target Field.
• With the Twins holding the first pick in next Monday’s draft, the team will hold a “draft party” for fans who come early to watch the selection at 6 p.m. Draft coverage will be broadcast on the scoreboard before the 7:10 p.m. game against the Mariners.
• The Twins’ clubhouse was a tasting room Wednesday, as several players and coaches tried the new Safeco Field delicacy: fried grasshoppers. Available for $4 a bag at the ballpark, the insects are fried and covered in chili powder, “and remind me a little bit of sunflower seeds, sort of chewy,” Kyle Gibson said.