Santana looks to pitch the Twins to a two-game sweep of the Padres on Wednesday evening. (photo credit: Cumulus Media, Brian Curski)

It’s sunny and warm at Target Field as the Minnesota Twins prepare to open a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox. It’ll be a pair of righties doing battle, as the Twins send Ervin Santana (3.24 ERA, 4.66 FIP in 169.1 innings) to the mound to tangle with James Shields (5.63 ERA, 6.13 FIP in 80 innings) of the White Sox. This will be the second matchup in a row between the pitchers, with the White Sox beating the Twins 4-3 last Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

More on that in a bit.

The Twins announced on Tuesday that Joe Nathan will formally announce his retirement in a press conference on Friday at Target Field. He’ll be joined by Thad Levine — who was an executive during Nathan’s time with the Texas Rangers — and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday night. He’ll also be honored with a video tribute put together by the team.

Nathan spent seven seasons with the Twins, saving 260 games with a 2.16 ERA and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He finished his career with 377 saves, with all but one coming either with the Twins or after he departed. Nathan played two seasons in Texas, two in Detroit and split time between the Cubs and Giants last season before going to spring training with the Nationals this season. Nathan struck out nine batters in 11.2 innings with the Nationals in spring training, opted out of his deal and resigned a minor-league deal with the team before he was released from Triple-A Syracuse at the end of May.

Here’s how the Twins will line up against Shields:

Here’s how the White Sox will counter against Santana:

Santana has been lights out in August, with a 2.73 ERA through five starts and more than a strikeout per inning (35-8 K/BB ratio in 33 innings). After posting a 6.03 ERA in June and a 4.68 mark in July, it looks like the 34-year-old has found his second wind as we’ve entered the dog days of summer. Opposing batters have had no luck against Santana in the month of August, as they’ve combined to hit just .214/.275/.357 against him after posting back-to-back months of .850-plus OPS marks.

It’ll be interesting to see how both offenses react to seeing the same pitcher less than a week apart.  

Shields has not had a particularly good season, but has been better of late. We caught up with Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago to get the lowdown on the veteran righty:

National Love

The Twins got a little national love from former MLB player Cliff Floyd on today’s Inside Pitch program on Sirius/XM radio. “You know who I believe in right now?” Floyd asked co-host Casey Stern. “The Minnesota Twins. They’re gonna win the second wild card.”

Here’s further context:

Injury Updates

Monday was the best Jason Castro (head) has felt since suffering his concussion, manager Paul Molitor said. The catcher is still suffering from pop-up headaches here and there, and still is not ready to start baseball activities, the manager added. The hope is that he’ll be able to ramp up relatively quickly.

Miguel Sano (shin) is also not doing any baseball activities, and the team is experimenting with some stimulation therapy — among other things — to try to encourage the bone to heal, Molitor said. Molitor added that Sano has been doing some pool cardio work, and has been able to get on the bike as well to work on his conditioning.

Hector Santiago (back) will start his second rehab assignment Tuesday night as he’ll be on the mound against Scranton-Wilkes Barre (Yankees) for the Rochester Red Wings.

Adalberto Mejia (biceps) will make his first rehab start for the Red Wings on Wednesday as he works his way back from a left arm brachialis strain.

Notes

  • Four Twins prospects will join the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League at the end of the season, the league announced on Tuesday. The Twins share that team with the Royals, Cardinals, Rays and Rangers. Opening day for Fall League play is Oct. 10, and the title game will be played at Scottsdale Stadium on Nov. 18.
  • The four Twins prospects joining the Saguaros are right-handed pitcher Tom Hackimer (1.85 ERA, 10.5 K/9 in 58.1 IP between low-A/high-A), left-handed pitcher Tyler Jay (3.52 ERA, 14.1 K/9 in 7.2 IP between three levels), infielder Chris Paul (.324/.378/.456 in 267 PA, mostly at High-A) and outfielder LaMonte Wade (.282/.393/.390 in 489 PA at Double-A).
  • Last season’s Twins representatives included Randy Rosario, John Curtiss, Stephen Gonsalves, Mason Melotakis, Mitch Garver and Nick Gordon.

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