KANSAS CITY, MO. – When Fernando Rodney entered Sunday’s game at Target Field in the fifth inning, it looked like a swashbuckling move by Twins manager Paul Molitor.
As it turned out, he was just using Rodney while there was still time.
Rodney, who was born in the Dominican Republic, has been working on obtaining his U.S. citizenship for about year, and a Monday morning meeting in Miami was scheduled to finalize the process. A previous meeting had been rescheduled because of a game conflict. So, this time, he had to go.
So Rodney got the last two outs of the fifth, then headed for the airport for a flight to Miami, where his offseason home is.
“I let [Molitor] know that I needed to pitch early in the game, any situation he was thinking I could come in and pitch to catch my flight,” Rodney said. “The situation came in the fifth inning. That was great to save the game for the moment.
“On my way to the airport I saw we tied the game and said, ‘Wow, that’s nice.’ “
He missed quite a game, as the benches emptied twice, Eduardo Escobar was ejected and Brian Dozier hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th as the Twins won 11-7.
The next day, the Twins posted pictures on twitter of a smiling Rodney, waving a U.S. flag after taking the Oath of Allegiance.
“It feels great,” said Rodney, who wants to bring his family to the United States. “It means a lot. I can bring all my family to the country and we can be together for a long time.”
Sano to Rochester
Third baseman Miguel Sano returned to Fort Myers on Thursday after spending four days in the Dominican Republic to be with his mother, who is ill.
A day later, he was on his way to Class AAA Rochester, where the Twins plan to increase his workload against tougher competition as he works his way back to the majors.
“We’re all pleased with how he’s responded to the challenge that we put out there for him to dive into a program which will enable him to be in better position to use his skills and he got behind in a lot of ways,” said Molitor, who confirmed that it was Sano’s mother who was ill.
In 19 games at Fort Myers, Sano hit .328 with two homers and 12 RBI. He also lost about 20 pounds; the Twins wanted him to get in better shape and work on his swing.
Now he’s a step away from returning to the majors for the first time since June 14.
Righthander Ervin Santana gave up just one run over six innings Friday — on a home run by Norfolk’s MikeYastrzemski — for Rochester during a minor league rehabilitation start.
Santana gave up two hits and walked three, but his fastball was just in the 89-90 miles per hour range. The Twins wanted him to go either six innings or throw 90 pitches, and Santana needed just 66 pitches to go six innings.
Molitor indicated that the Twins were open to having Santana make one more start before joining the Twins.
• Rochester outfielder Zack Granite went on the disabled list for the second time this season because of a right shoulder contusion. Granite initially injured the shoulder while making a catch during spring training.
• First baseman Logan Morrison (left hip) took batting practice Friday and should be ready to come off the DL on Sunday. Righthander Addison Reed (right triceps) is much better, Molitor said, but not quite ready to come off the DL.
• Utility man Taylor Motter was called up to take the spot available when righthander Fernando Romero was sent to Rochester after Sunday’s game.