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How the Twins should respond to Ervin Santana’s injury

With Ervin Santana missing roughly the first month of the season, how will the Twins fill his spot in the rotation?

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Heading into this winter, it was clear that the Twins wanted to add at least one more piece to join Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, and Kyle Gibson in the starting rotation. Now they might be a little more pressed to find another pitcher after it was announced that Santana had surgery on his right middle finger and won’t be available to pitch until late April or May.

While not an injury that would necessarily cause the Twins to panic, it does open some doors for some other pitchers, both inside and outside the organization. Inside, Tyler Duffey will be given an opportunity to start again, though Darren Wolfson says this was supposedly true even before the Santana news. Adalberto Mejia has a better chance of opening the season in the big leagues, and I feel that Phil Hughes will be looked at more as a starting pitcher than as a garbage-time long reliever. Outside the organization, we found out that the Twins are interested in a reunion with Jaime Garcia, which may also have been true before Santana chose to go under the knife.

No matter the decision, the Twins don’t need to throw tens of millions of dollars at a pitcher to patch this hole. Santana is only scheduled to miss about 3-6 starts, so his absence could easily be filled with some combination of Aaron Slegers, Stephen Gonsalves, Felix Jorge, Myles Jaye, Zack Littell, and/or Fernando Romero (among others), as suggested by Seth Stohs. Additionally, with three off-days early in the season, the Twins can make it two weeks into the season before they’ll require a fifth starter. This further suggests that they won’t need to add another starting pitcher via trade or free agency. Nonetheless, the adage is that you can never have enough pitching and I feel Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will still add at least one pitcher to the rotation before Opening Day.

What do you think? Assuming that a free agent starter was coming in before Santana’s injury, would you want the Twins to sign another pitcher or should they entrust the opening on the roster with one of the young guys?