That timeline could keep the 35-year-old right-hander out of action until early May, putting his $14-million vesting option for 2019 in jeopardy. Santana needs to toss 200 innings in 2018 and undergo a clean physical following the season, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.
With the Twins failing to add another impact arm to their starting rotation this offseason, Santana was poised to get the ball on Opening Day. In the wake of the injury, the most realistic stand-in is young fireballer Jose Berrios, unless the club succeeds in signing coveted free agent Yu Darvish.
Santana went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA over 211 1/3 innings in 2017, tying division rival Corey Kluber for most complete games in baseball at five apiece. Only Chris Sale threw more total innings in the regular season. For a time, Santana was among the best pitchers in the game last season, and was on pace to set a new MLB record for lowest H/9 rate of all time. He eventually gave up hits at a more potent clip, finishing with a H/9 of 7.5, but it was still an impressive year.
The Twins will miss his steady presence for the first month (or more) of the campaign.