May 6, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT
Back when the Orioles signed Johan Santana to a minor-league contract in early March he was reportedly topping out in the low-80s with his fastball, but now things are looking a bit more promising for the two-time Cy Young winner’s comeback.
Santana threw two innings in an extended spring training game yesterday and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that “he was clocked at 86 to 89 miles per hour” in what was his first game action.
That’s still not at Santana’s pre-shoulder surgery peak, but it’s close enough to be very encouraging and, even if he doesn’t add any more velocity, could be enough to let him succeed in a relief role.
Santana hasn’t thrown a big-league pitch since August of 2012 and the Orioles will be in no rush to push along his recovery process, but the 35-year-old could be a factor in the second half.
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