Mike Pelfrey joins Twins’ rotation following Ervin Santana suspension

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Twins starter Ervin Santana was suspended 80 games Friday afternoon after testing positive for Stanozolol. The move is a huge blow to the Twins, as they had signed Santana to a four-year, $55 million contract in December. The now-vacant rotation spot will go to Mike Pelfrey, Twins’ director of baseball communications and player relations Dustin Morse tweets. The Twins have recalled lefty Aaron Thompson to fill the open spot in the bullpen.

Pelfrey was expected to open the season in the bullpen after losing the spring training rotation battle to left-hander Tommy Milone. Pelfrey, who posted a 1.15 ERA in 15 2/3 spring innings, was miffed, initially expressing that he would be happy with a trade. After sleeping on the matter, Pelfrey took back his comments.

Pelfrey, 31, was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system, but he compiled a 4.36 ERA in the majors with the Mets before joining the Twins for the 2013 season. He underwent surgery for ulnar nerve decompression on his right elbow last June.