Twins dip into minors, Blue Jays into bullpen for series-opening starters (Jul 22, 2018)

July 22, 2018

TORONTO -- The Minnesota Twins have their starting pitcher figured out for Monday at the Rogers Centre, but the Toronto Blue Jays' situation is a little more complicated.

The Twins will recall left-hander Adalberto Mejia (0-0, 9.00 ERA) from Triple-A Rochester to make the start in the opener of a three-game series.

He will replace right-hander Fernando Romero, who started July 15 against the Tampa Bay Rays and was demoted after the game.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, will have reliever Luis Santos (0-0, 7.88) start an expected game-long procession from the bullpen to replace Marco Estrada, who is still on the disabled list with a left glute strain.

Estrada is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start Monday with Double-A New Hampshire instead.

Estrada has not pitched since leaving his July 3 start against the Boston Red Sox after 12 pitches with the injury. He had been listed as the possible starter for Monday.

"He threw a side and he felt much better, but we figured where he's at, how long it's been, he's better off doing it down there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

The Blue Jays (46-52) are coming off a three-game sweep of the lowly Baltimore Orioles after scoring four eighth-inning runs in a comeback 5-4 victory on Sunday.

The Twins (44-53) lost 5-3 on Sunday and were swept in a three-game series by the struggling Kansas City Royals.

In Meija's only major-league start of 2018, he gave up four runs in four innings in a June 30 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"A tough day to gauge somebody," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You hope he's a better version of what we saw the majority of last year, which means everything from trusting his catcher more to not trying to strike everybody out to not trying to make the perfect pitch all the time. He's got pitches. We all know that."

Mejia made four appearances, including two starts, after his return to Rochester. In his start Tuesday, he allowed seven earned runs in six innings against Louisville. He held Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to one run in six innings of his previous start. Overall at Triple-A, he is 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 14 games (11 starts) this season.

The Twins also completed their rotation for the three-game series by announcing that Ervin Santana will make his first start of the season Wednesday in the finale. He had surgery in early February to remove a calcium deposit from his right middle finger.

"It's going to be a little bit of changing it up in terms of where to slot him in," Molitor said. "We thought keeping him on his regular rest would be good."

Santana llowed one run in six innings Friday pitching for Rochester.

Mejia is 4-7 with a 4.74 ERA in 23 games (22 starts) during his major-league career. He has faced the Blue Jays once, a start on Sept. 16 last season at Minnesota in which he allowed three runs and five hits in three innings to take the loss.

Santos was 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 relief appearances with Toronto last season, but this season has appeared in only five games in two stints with the Blue Jays. At Triple-A Buffalo this season, he is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 17 games (two starts). He has 100 career starts in the minors.

Santos has appeared twice against the Twins, going 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA.

Twins first baseman Logan Morrison (left hip) returned from the DL on Sunday and was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

The Blue Jays had Lourdes Gurriel Jr. back from the seven-day concussion DL and he started at second base, going 2-for-3 with an error. He failed to turn a double play in the fifth and Baltimore eventually scored a run in the inning.



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