Ervin Santana (born December 12, 1982) is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has played in MLB for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim , Kansas City Royals , and Atlanta Braves .

Santana was born Johan Ramon Santana , and used that name throughout his life until 2003. At that time, he decided to change his name to avoid having the same name as pitching star Johan Santana . [3] According to Ervin Santana, "I just came up with Ervin... Ervin Santana, that sounds good." [3]

Career

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Santana signed with the Anaheim Angels as an amateur free agent on September 2, 2000. He had been a starting pitcher for the Angels' Double-A affiliate, the Arkansas Travelers early in 2005, where he posted a 5–1 record and 2.31 ERA in 7 starts. Following an injury to Angels starting pitcher Kelvim Escobar , Santana earned a promotion. He made his first major league appearance on May 17, 2005 against the Cleveland Indians , in which he gave up the pitching version of the cycle in first four batters that he faced. In his second start, facing the Chicago White Sox 's Jon Garland , (who at the time had the best record in baseball), Santana bested Garland by pitching a complete game shutout . He gave up only 5 hits and struck out 7 for his first career victory . Santana then went on the disabled list and was sent back down to the minors to the Angels Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees .

After Escobar's elbow problems became a recurring problem, he had been placed back on the DL and Santana received his second call-up to the majors. He pitched well enough to earn a spot on the playoff roster, but was initially left out of the four-man rotation. In the pivotal Game 5 of the American League Division Series of the playoffs against the New York Yankees , Angels ace Bartolo Colón went out with a shoulder injury in the second inning. Santana filled in as the long reliever, and pitched 5-1/3 innings to earn his first playoff win in his first appearance.

His short rookie season with the Angels ended with 12 wins in the regular season. In the 2006 season, he finished with a 16–8 record. After a disappointing start to the 2007 season where he had gone 5–11 with a 6.22 ERA, he had been optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake Bees on July 18, 2007. He had been recalled by the Angels on August 17, 2007, and regained his spot in the starting rotation.

On April 30, 2008, Santana equaled an Angels record with a 5–0 start to the season. He joined Angels legend Frank Tanana and teammate Joe Saunders , who equaled Tanana the day before. Santana was 11–3 with a 3.34 ERA at the 2008 All-Star Break. Pitching in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game , Santana gave up a fifth inning homer to Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies .

On September 22, 2008, Santana pitched against the Seattle Mariners , going 8 innings, allowing 5 hits, 1 earned run , and striking out 9 en route to his career-high tying sixteenth win of the season. On October 3, 2008, he gave up 4 runs in the first inning and 5 total in 5 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Santana started out the 2009 season on the disabled list. In his first game of the season, he received a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox. After struggling with a disappointing 8.35 ERA , the Angels placed him on the disabled list.

On September 28, 2009, Santana pitched a complete game shutout, fitting the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch a shutout in a game to clinch the Western Division. In 2010, notwithstanding the Angels finishing two games under .500, he finished the season with an impressive 17–10 record and a 3.92 ERA with 169 strikeouts.

On July 27, 2011, Ervin Santana pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians . It was Santana's first career no-hitter, and the Angels first no-hitter after 1990. It was additionally Ervin Santana's first victory against the Cleveland Indians in 11 career starts. He struck out 10, walked 1, and allowed 1 unearned run. [4] At the end of the 2011 season, Santana pitched a career-best 3.38 ERA and an 11–12 record.

In 2012, Santana struggled throughout the season, posting an ERA of 5.16 in 30 starts. Despite posting an ERA over 5, Santana's WHIP stood reasonably low, registering at 1.27 with 165 hits allowed in 178 innings. He surrendered a career high 39 home runs, which led the majors for the 2012 season.

Kansas City Royals

On October 31, 2012, Santana was traded to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for left-handed minor league reliever Brandon Sisk. The Angels picked up the $13 million option on Santana prior to making the trade, and agreed to cover an undisclosed portion of that amount for the Royals. [5] Santana earned his hundredth career win on June 8, 2013, against the Houston Astros . In 32 starts with the Royals, he had been 9–10 with a 3.24 ERA. The Royals made a $14.1 million qualifying offer to him after the season, but he turned it down and became a free agent. [6]

Atlanta Braves

Because of Santana's rejection of the Royals' offer, any team that signed him for 2014 would have to surrender a draught pick. As a result of that and a few concerns about his long term health and his reported contract demands, Santana didn't sign with any teams before spring training began. [7] As spring training continued, Santana reportedly fired his agent and changed his contract demands to a one-year deal near what his rejected qualifying offer was. [8]

Santana proceeded to negotiate with the Toronto Blue Jays, and verbally agreed to a contract but stalled signing it for several days. [9] [10] Following an injury to Kris Medlen of the Atlanta Braves , Santana immediately agreed to terms identical to the Blue Jays' reported offer of $14.1 million for one season. [11] Santana's first year in the NL was mixed as he posted an ERA of 3.94 with the Braves in 31 starts. He surrendered a career low 16 home runs in 196 innings while going 14-10.

Minnesota Twins

On December 12, 2014, Santana signed with the Minnesota Twins on a four-year, $54 million deal with an option for a fifth year. [12] On April 3, MLB announced that Santana would be suspended for 80 games after testing positive for Stanozolol , a performance-enhancing drug. [13] On July 5, 2015, Santana was activated from his 80-game suspension and made his season debut against his former team, the Kansas City Royals . [14]