Twins reinstate Santana from restricted list

Righty will start Sunday's finale vs. Royals

Twins reinstate Santana from restricted list

KANSAS CITY -- The Twins officially reinstated right-hander Ervin Santana from the restricted list on Saturday after he completed his 80-game suspension for his use of a performance-enhancing drug.

Santana, who signed a four-year $55 million contract with Minnesota in the offseason, will make his Twins debut as the starter for Sunday's series finale against the Royals. He met with reporters for the first time since being handed the suspension on April 3, and was mostly upbeat throughout the interview, but wouldn't get into specifics about how or why he tested positive for Stanozolol.

"It was tough like every other bad news that everybody gets," Santana said of when he heard about the suspension. "But at the same time, you just have to sit back and just try to get that time to do something productive. I spent a lot of time with my family and everything has been very good, especially with the way we're playing right now."

Santana arrived in Kansas City on Friday, but he was able to officially rejoin the team prior to Saturday's game. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he briefly chatted with Santana before the game.

"I was in the clubhouse and he came over right away with a big smile on his face," Molitor said. "I don't know what it's like to go through something like that but I'm sure it's a relief to be back here where he belongs. So it's a good thing."

Molitor said Santana was welcomed back by his teammates, and the manager doesn't see any issues with him fitting in in the clubhouse.

"My feeling is that everyone is excited to have him back," Molitor said. "Haven't heard anything conversely to that. He's an easy guy to like personality-wise, work-habit wise."

Santana, however, was asked whether he did a "bad thing," and responded by asking the media what they thought. When reporters said they didn't know, Santana said he didn't either.

"Well, me neither," Santana said. "Just leave it right there. That's in the past and I'm just moving forward and I'm happy to be back."

Santana, who posted a 1.74 ERA in three rehab starts with Triple-A Rochester, is also ineligible to pitch in the postseason for the Twins, which he said is disappointing.

"It's tough," Santana said. "But at the same time I'll be cheering for them and wish the best for our team. For right now we just have to focus and when that time comes we'll figure it out."

The Twins will move Trevor May to the bullpen in the short-term to make room for Santana in the rotation. Minnesota also optioned Alex Meyer to Triple-A Rochester after Friday night's 3-2 loss to make room for Santana on the roster.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.