Target Field on pace to be paid off early

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All publicly-funded stadium projects stink, but some stink less than others. At least the one for Target Field hasn’t devolved into a horrifying mess like the ones in Miami, Cincinnati and elsewhere. In fact, it’s on pace to be paid off early:

For Target Field, Hennepin County’s initial plan was to make the final debt payment in 2037, but the payoff now could come five or 10 years sooner, according to county Budget and Finance Director Dave Lawless.

Too bad that $350 million in public funds couldn’t have been so efficiently directed to something besides a ballpark which is owned by and directly benefits one of the richest families in the United States.

*Correction: The Pohlads lease Target Field. They still benefit greatly from it, of course.

Twins place Ervin Santana on 10-day disabled list

Ervin Santana
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Twins right-hander Ervin Santana is headed back to the disabled list after experiencing a flare-up of symptoms related to the MVP joint injury he sustained on his right middle finger back in February. According to club manager Paul Molitor, no timetable has been revealed for his return to the rotation, but given the significant time he’s already missed this season, it seems unlikely that he’ll play a significant role — if any — down the stretch. He’s currently scheduled to see a hand specialist on Tuesday, after which the Twins will reevaluate his status and decide whether or not to shut him down for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Santana, 35, underwent surgery on his finger in February and missed over five months during a lengthy recovery process. The veteran righty was activated from the 60-day disabled list in July, but has pitched to an 0-1 record in five starts since then, with an abysmal 8.03 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 through 24 2/3 innings. His most recent start, Thursday’s surprising 15-8 win over the Tigers, was also his worst of the season: He allowed seven runs and three walks over four innings and struck out just two of 22 batters faced before calling it a night in the fifth inning.

Given Santana’s continued struggles on the mound and the uphill battle he faces in recovery, it’s difficult to imagine that the team will exercise his $14 million option for 2019 come fall. Until then,  the Twins’ no. 5 prospect, 24-year-old southpaw Stephen Gonsalves, is expected to assume Santana’s spot in the rotation. Gonsalves turned in a 12-3 record in 22 starts for Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester, with a cumulative 2.76 ERA, 4.8 BB/9 and 9.0 SO/9 through 120 2/3 innings.