TORONTO -- Ervin Santana will make his first start of the season Wednesday afternoon when the Minnesota Twins try for a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Twins (46-53) have taken the first two games of the series after winning 5-0 on Tuesday night.
Santana will be facing Toronto right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 4.59 ERA) in the final meeting of the season between the teams. The Twins lead the season series 3-2.
The Twins' Santana is returning after having a calcium deposit removed from his right middle finger on Feb. 6. Santana's velocity might be a concern. His fastball was usually timed at 89-90 mph during his seven rehabilitation appearances.
"It will be back," Santana said. "I talked to the doctor and asked him about it. He said, 'Don't worry. You just had a finger surgery, so it's not like it was your shoulder or elbow.' "
The 35-year-old said he expects some pain when he pitches Wednesday.
"I know I'm going to have pain there, but it's not going to stop me from pitching," he said. "It's crazy (the rehabilitation took so long), but at the same time it was a surgery. You can't predict anything when you're coming back because you didn't know how the finger was going to react. I was being patient and I didn't try to hurry anything up."
Santana will be making his 20th career start against Toronto, and he is 6-7 with a 3.84 ERA against the Blue Jays. He last faced the Blue Jays on Aug. 27, 2016, when he allowed six runs on five hits and five walks with four strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings and did not factor into the decision. He has lost his last three decisions against the Blue Jays.
The Twins designated infielder/outfielder Taylor Motter for assignment to make room for Santana when he is activated from the disabled list.
Gaviglio will be trying for his first win since May 25. He is 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA in 10 starts since. In two career starts against the Twins, both last season, he is 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA.
Blue Jays shortstop Aledmys Diaz was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game Tuesday because of a left thumb injury sustained during Sunday's game against the Orioles.
"He caught a ball the other night, one over at third base, a line drive that did something to his thumb," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Yesterday he couldn't really hold a bat. Today he feels better, but (the Blue Jays) give him another day."
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. played shortstop for the second game in a row and was 2-for-4, giving him seven straight multi-hit games. Gurriel ties Al Woods for the longest such streak by a Blue Jays rookie. Woods accomplished his run in 1977.
"I think he's got a chance to be a really good player," Gibbons said. "He's got a great attitude. Every day he's got a smile on his face, he's ready to play. He enjoys playing. And he can run the bases, he's got some speed. Yeah, he's got everything in his favor."
Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada had a setback in his rehabilitation outing with Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday afternoon when he left in the fourth inning with a blister on his finger.
The Blue Jays (46-54) had hoped to start Estrada in the opener of the series against the Twins on Monday, but used assorted relievers instead, starting with Luis Santos in the 8-3 loss.
It was decided to give Estrada, who is on the disabled list with a strained left glute, a rehabilitation start with Double-A New Hampshire on Monday instead. His flight, however, was canceled so he started Tuesday for the Bisons at Louisville.
He developed a blister on his right middle finger and is considered day-to-day. It is not certain when he will rejoin the Toronto rotation. He allowed three runs, three hits and two walks before leaving the game Tuesday.
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