Ervin Santana’s long, tumultuous road back to Kauffman Stadium ended Saturday afternoon as he watched Royals batting practice from the visitor’s dugout.
Santana, who posted a 9-10 record and 3.24 ERA with the Royals in 2013, is preparing to make his debut with the Minnesota Twins after serving an 80-game suspension for steroids. He will oppose Danny Duffy at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday.
“It was tough like every other bad news that you get, but at the same time you have to sit back and try to use that time to do something productive,” Santana said. “I spent a lot of time with my family and everything is going good especially with the way we are playing right now.”
Santana made three starts with Triple-A Rochester going 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA in preparation for his return. Most recently, he worked around five hits to pitch eight scoreless innings. He threw five strikeouts and 70 of his 99 pitches were strikes.
“I can’t complain,” Santana said. “I was hitting my spots, and I was pretty good.”
Royals first basemen Eric Hosmer said the announcement in April about his former teammate came as a surprise. According to the league, Santana tested positive for Stanozolol after signing a four-year $55 million deal with the Twins.
“It’s just reality,” Hosmer said. “People make mistakes. He served his suspension. He’s put in his time. It’s only fair to move on from it now.”
This will be the Royals’ first time facing the right-hander since 2012, when he was with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Santana spent 2014 with the Atlanta Braves winning 14 games with a 3.95 ERA in 32 starts. He has a 119-100 record and a 4.17 ERA in 10 major league seasons.
“He’s going to be a different guy than we faced in LA, but it’s a guy we know we’re gonna see a lot throughout the year and a lot throughout his career in Minnesota,” Hosmer said. “It’ll be good to get a look for us and hopefully just see what kind of stuff he has.”