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Santana feeling betrayed

Left-hander angry with Rogers' trade

By Gordon Wittenmyer

St. Paul Pioneer Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The euphoria over Thursday's signing of pitcher Kenny Rogers was not shared by all Twins.

Left-hander Johan Santana, the young pitcher many believe is the most talented of the team's potential starters, said he felt betrayed when the team acquired the veteran Rogers to fill the job that several days earlier was promised to him.

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He's so angry, he said he might consider asking for a trade.

"We'll see what my agent has to say," Santana said. "I want to be part of this team. I love this team -- great teammates. But you have to look out for yourself, too. You have to take care of yourself, and if they're not going to do it, you have to find somewhere else.

"I know they're looking for a replacement (for injured starter Eric Milton), but to me it looks like I don't mean nothing to them. ... I feel screwed."

Santana had a lengthy meeting Thursday morning with manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, who explained that signing Rogers strengthens the team's pitching depth, in particular by giving the team the flexibility in the bullpen that Santana provides there.

"I told them I was disappointed, and I told them every time (in the past) I was quiet," he said. "Not today. Today I talk."

Santana, a Rule 5 draft pick from Houston who pitched at Class A in 1999, was carried on the Twins' major league roster through the 2000 season as a requirement for keeping him in the organization. He earned a spot in the bullpen in 2001, and then after starting last season in the minors to build endurance to become a starter, he played a key role for the Twins by replacing injured Brad Radke in the rotation, going 7-5 with a 3.24 earned-run average in 14 starts. He was 8-6, 2.99 overall.

"They forget about that," said Santana, who said he has proved what he can do at the major league level and deserved the chance to start that was promised when it was determined Milton would open the season on the disabled list.

"I understand everything he's saying," general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's got some valid points, too. But as the general manager, I've got to do what's best for the club, and that's what I will do. And sometimes people's feelings get hurt and sometimes they feel betrayed.

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"I still think we're a better club than we were two days ago, and some people's roles have changed."

Twins-Red Sox Thursday linescore, Page 2C

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