BRADENTON, Fla. – Anthony Santander noticed the Orioles beat writers walking toward his locker this morning, smiled and provided an unsolicited update on his left knee.
Skip the formalities and get to it.
“I’m OK guys, I’m OK guys,” he said.
Santander was hit by a pitch yesterday, fell to the ground and limped to the dugout, and later the clubhouse. X-rays came back negative.
“Just a bruise,” he said. “Eighty-five miles, but he hit me in the right spot, on the bone. But we’re feeling good, much better today. I think it’s nothing to get worried about.”
Santander is leaving camp next week to play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He is expected to be in Wednesday’s lineup against the Blue Jays in Sarasota.
“I’m out there tomorrow,” he said. “I might go out there today and see how I feel running, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to feel really good. I’m in the lineup tomorrow.”
The pitch and subsequent collapse in the batter’s box didn’t seem to concern Santander. There was some discomfort but no panic that the result would be serious.
“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It’s happened before. I’ve got strong bones, thank God.”
Manager Brandon Hyde said Santander felt a lot better today and confirmed that the outfielder would play Wednesday unless the discomfort returned.
“Met with him this morning and he’s really encouraged by how he feels today,” Hyde said. “So, check with him tomorrow. If he feels good to go, he’ll be in there tomorrow. I’m not in a rush to get him back in there if it’s still a little bit sore, but if he feels good enough to go tomorrow, then he should be.”
Hyde keeps wanting to knock on wood or change the subject whenever he’s asked about the team staying in good health through camp.
Getting a good report on Santander was a “huge relief,” he said.
“It was scary when it happened, just the sound of it hitting the kneecap, but to see him walk without a limp today, it was nice.”
No updates on John Means beyond how he’s throwing on flat ground again today as part of his progression and remains right on track. The Orioles hope to insert him into the rotation by July.
“No setbacks,” Hyde said, “so everything is on track there.”
Gunnar Henderson’s spring debut was pushed back to today because he’s had some wrist soreness.
“We’ve got a month to go, so I didn’t want to push him into anything until we feel like we’re 100 percent,” Hyde said. “He would have been able to play, no problem, but just wanted to kind of keep him fresh.”
Ryan Watson, the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2022, didn’t appear in yesterday’s game due to some neck soreness.
“We decided to hold him out,” Hyde said. “He was here all morning and we decided not to pitch him.”
Watson isn’t listed among today’s relievers. Mike Baumann, Bryan Baker, Morgan McSweeney, Wandisson Charles, Ofreidy Gómez and Eduard Bazardo are listed behind starter Kyle Bradish.
The travel roster includes outfielders Heston Kjerstad, Colton Cowser, Daz Cameron and Robert Neustrom, infielders Jackson Holliday, Connor Norby, César Prieto, Coby Mayo, Josh Lester, Curtis Terry and Cadyn Grenier, first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn, catcher Maverick Handley, and pitchers Blaine Knight and Kevin Smith.
Cole Irvin starts Wednesday afternoon against the Blue Jays in Sarasota. Toronto is starting left-hander Yusei Kikuchi.
Grayson Rodriguez starts Thursday against the Tigers in Lakeland, with Spenser Watkins following him. Detroit is starting left-hander Matthew Boyd.
Kyle Gibson also makes his debut Friday night against the Pirates in Sarasota. Pittsburgh is starting Vince Velasquez.