In December, the Minnesota Twins made a big splash and signed free agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year deal worth $55 million. The idea was that Santana could come in and be the ace for a club that has a very mediocre rotation. If there was any hope at the beginning of the season that the Twins could compete in the AL Central, Santana was going to have to have a tremendous season. That hope was crushed when, prior to the season, Santana was handed an 80-game suspension for PED use.

Luckily for Twins fans, the first 80 games were a pleasant surprise, and the Twins found themselves very much in the playoff hunt as the MLB season hit all-star break. Ervin Santana's return now is just icing on the cake.

Ervin Santana is a 32-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic. He spent his first 8 seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. His best season came in 2008, when the then 25-year-old went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA. Santana also spent a year with the Kansas City Royals in 2013, when he had a career-low 3.24 ERA, and also a year with the Atlanta Braves in 2014 where he won 14 games.

Santana made his return on July 5th, and has been pretty solid so far. In his first start on the 5th, Santana went 8.0 innings and gave up just 2 runs to the monster offense of the Kansas City Royals. Santana also struck out 8 batters against KC while giving up just 3 hits. He had a bit of a hiccup in his next outing. On July 10th, against Detroit, Santana gave up 6 runs in just 4.0 innings and allowed 11 hitters to get on base. He quickly bounced back after the all-star break, shutting out Oakland in 7.2 innings. Santana received his first win of the season, and showed that he has the potential to be the Twins ace as they enter the back end of the 2015 season.

With 70 games remaining this season, the Minnesota Twins have a real shot at making the post-season, and with Ervin Santana returning they should be more optimistic than ever. Santana makes his next start on Thursday, July 23rd against his former team, the Angels. He may face his biggest test yet, as the Angels will not only be bringing sluggers Albert Pujols and Mike Trout to the plate against him, but he will also be dueling Angels ace, Garrett Richards, who already has 10 wins this season. If the Twins are going to push themselves into the playoff picture come October, Ervin Santana is going to have to step up and show he was worth all $13.5 million he is set to make this season.