FORT MYERS, FLA. — The Twins' offseason search for more options and flexibility, a process that has revamped their lineup and rotation, arrived in the bullpen Sunday.
Dennis Santana and Jeff Hoffman, each a hard-throwing righthander with a several years of major league experience, were added to the team's pitching staff. Santana was claimed off waivers from Atlanta and Hoffman, a free agent, signed a minor league contract.
"They made no promises or anything," said Hoffman, who will be paid $1.3 million if he makes the major league roster, with another $300,000 in bonuses available if he pitches in 25 to 50 games. "With what I can bring to the table — multiple innings at a time, a Swiss-army-knife kind of approach — I feel like I've got a good chance to make the team."
If he doesn't, Hoffman can opt out of his contract on March 28, May 15 or June 15, but he hopes that won't be necessary. The ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Hoffman said he picked the Twins because "there's a really good chance to win here, to win now. Of the teams that were interested in me, this felt like the place where I was going to have the most fun."
He will see plenty of familiar faces. Hoffman was traded to Colorado in a deal that included LaTroy Hawkins, who will coach him now in Twins camp, then spent five seasons with the Rockies during Twins coach Tony Diaz's tenure there. The past two seasons, Hoffman was in Cincinnati, where he was a teammate of Tyler Mahle, Donovan Solano, Kyle Farmer and Sonny Gray.
Hoffman, 30, owns a 5.68 ERA in 348⅓ career innings over seven seasons, a mark bloated by his lifetime 7.41 ERA at Coors Field.
"More so than the altitude there, it was my grip. Trying to find your grip on the ball in such a dry climate, it was a constant battle," Hoffman said. "Pitching in the major leagues is a hard job — the altitude and the dryness makes it a lot harder."
Last year, he averaged 94.2 mph with his fastball, and struck out 45 batters in 44⅔ innings before his season was cut short in August when he suffered a bone bruise.
Santana, 26, has pitched for the Dodgers and Rangers in his five-year career, posting a 5.12 ERA in 139 innings. His fastball averaged 96.8 mph last season in Texas and reached 98 mph several times. He was credited with 20 holds, more than any Ranger.
Santana wore down as the season neared its end, but through the first three months, he owned a 1.53 ERA in 29⅓ innings, had not allowed a home run, and was holding batters to a .155 average.
Sorry about that
Randy Dobnak had a unique reaction Saturday when umpire Chad Fairchild called an automatic strike on Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander to open the fourth inning: He apologized.
"I looked at Santander and said, 'Sorry, dude,' " Dobnak said with a laugh. "Not sure what I was apologizing for."
Santander had taken too long to get ready to hit, with the pitch clock reaching seven when Fairchild made the call.
Joe Ryan gave up one run while retiring four batters in his spring debut Sunday, but reliever Trevor Megill surrendered six runs in one-third of an inning, and the Phillies handed the Twins a 10-8 loss in a Grapefruit League game in Clearwater, Fla.
Megill faced seven batters and recorded only one out, allowing a solo home run to Kody Clemens, issuing a bases-loaded walk to Vito Friscia, and giving up a grand slam to Phillies outfielder Nathan Wilson.
Wilson's slam was the second of the game; Twins third baseman Eliot Soto blasted one in the fifth inning off rookie lefthander Brian Marconi.
The Twins face Boston at JetBlue Stadium on Monday.