Twins shuffle rotation to bump up Santana

Milone, Nolasco pushed back a day due to Opening Day rain delay

Twins shuffle rotation to bump up Santana

BALTIMORE -- After right-hander Ervin Santana was limited to two innings and 39 pitches because of a rain delay in his Opening Day start against the Orioles on Monday, the Twins decided to shuffle their rotation so he'll start again on Friday against the Royals in Kansas City.

Santana was originally scheduled to make his next start on Sunday, but now lefty Tommy Milone and right-hander Ricky Nolasco will see their starts pushed back a day. Milone will start on Saturday, while Nolasco will take the mound Sunday. Right-hander Kyle Gibson is still slated to start the home opener against the White Sox on Monday, and he will be followed in the rotation by right-hander Phil Hughes and Santana.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he toyed with the idea to move up Santana's start, and after talking with pitching coach Neil Allen and the pitchers affected by the change, he made the decision before Wednesday's game against the Orioles.

"We gave it some thought after the game on Monday," Molitor said. "It was almost like an extended bullpen to some degree so we're trying to utilize him to see what we can do on Friday. I talked to Neil about it last night, and then today we talked to the people involved before we confirmed that plan."

The reshuffled rotation also means Nolasco will go eight days in between outings, as he last pitched in Saturday's exhibition game against the Nationals in Washington, D.C. Nolasco, who threw a bullpen session on Monday, will be available in relief in case of emergency on Wednesday, but if he doesn't see action, he'll throw a second bullpen on Thursday.

"It's an extended time, but I think you have to make those adjustments early in the year," Molitor said. Even Kansas City's peculiar schedule has them doing things like [Edinson] Volquez starting Sunday and Sunday. So I think every team's circumstances are unique."

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.