Santana, the Twins’ hottest pitcher down the stretch last year, got off to a shaky start in 2004, lasting just four-plus innings against Cleveland on April 6 due to spasms in his left forearm—an injury that also flared up during last season’s AL division series against the New York Yankees.
The left-hander was given a clean bill of health for his next start, but only managed to last five innings in the Twins’ 6-5 loss at Detroit on Sunday. Santana allowed three runs and five hits, while striking out three and walking one. He did not receive a decision.
“I felt pretty good—I was just trying to throw the ball over the plate, trying to put the ball in play,” Santana said after throwing 94 pitches. “They hit the ball. They fouled many pitches and made me throw a lot of pitches. That’s why it forced me to come out of the game.”
Santana began last year in the Minnesota bullpen, but emerged as a key starter in the Twins’ run to a second straight AL Central title. He finished the year 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA.
Santana will try to follow a brilliant effort by right-hander Brad Radke in Thursday’s 3-0 victory at Cleveland. Radke allowed four singles over eight innings and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his first save since 1999 as the Twins took the final two games of the three-game set.
Mike Sweeney went 3-for-5 with an RBI for Kansas City, which slipped to 0-3 on its nine-game road trip.