SARASOTA, Fla. — Two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana’s decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles this week was not only because he wanted to have to opportunity to contribute to a contender but also because he was comfortable with the club’s understanding of his lengthy and tedious rehab process.
“They’ve got the confidence that they’ll be able to help me to come back,” said Santana, who has worked closely on past rehabs with Orioles assistant trainer Chris Correnti when both were with the Mets. “We’re on the same page, and I’m very happy for that.”
Santana, who spent his first day in Orioles camp continuing his rehab from a second shoulder surgery for a torn anterior capsule with a long toss session, weightlifting and conditioning drills, said he doesn’t have his own timetable for a return. The club has estimated June 1.
“We don’t know how long it’s going to take, but we’re on the right track,” Santana said. “There’s nothing written down right now. I’ve got to go one day at a time and make sure every day is a good one, and we’ll see when we’ll be ready. Right now, I’m throwing off the mound, but I’m not facing hitters or anything, and the intensity is not there yet. But the good thing is I feel good, and once you start building up and getting into baseball, it definitely should catch up quicker.”
Santana’s velocity topped out at 81 mph during a throwing session attended by the club last week. Since Santana is still months away from being ready and is still building arm strength, it didn’t concern the Orioles and doesn’t concern the 34-year-old Santana. He would like to return as a starter, and Manager Buck Showalter shares that sentiment, but it will depend on his arm strength.
Santana is signed to a minor league deal but will make a base salary of $3 million if he is added to the major league roster.
South Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon is scheduled to fly to Canada on Sunday and has an interview appointment Monday to obtain his work visa. The process is expected to take a few days, and getting an appointment has been tedious, but it was better than the alternative, which was to return to South Korea for his visa.
Yoon can’t pitch in a Grapefruit League game until he obtains the visa, so he will be scheduled to pitch in a simulated game before then, likely Saturday at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex.