The Baltimore Orioles rank 17th in MLB in starter’s ERA at 4.45, but some help may be on the way. Offseason acquisition Johan Santana is inching closer to his return to the big leagues after missing all of 2013 with a torn left shoulder capsule.
Santana pitched two innings against extended spring training hitters from the Minnesota Twins on Monday afternoon — fanning four while giving up just one hit. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com noted that Santana’s fastball velocity hovered around the 87-89 mph range during his 28-pitch outing.
Not only was Johan Santana's fastball at 86-89 in yesterday's extended spring game, but his changeup was at 75-76. Good sign. #Orioles
— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) May 6, 2014
He talked with the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina about his start:
“It’s always good to see you’re making an improvement. When I’m on the mound and competing, I’m not thinking about it. When I’m competing, it’s me against the hitter, so I’m trying to work my way into everything I do, so you don’t know what you’re throwing when you’re pitching. I knew that I had the command going along with the velocity you guys are talking about.”
The lefty is expected to pitch again on Saturday. Encina notes Santana will not join any of the Orioles’ minor league affiliates until he can pitch five innings.
Santana last pitched in the big leagues in 2012, going 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 117 innings pitched. It will be interesting to see what Santana has left, coming back from a second surgery to his left shoulder.
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