Orioles still working to retain Santana

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Orioles have until midnight to work out an agreement with veteran left-hander Johan Santana to push back the opt-out date on his minor league contract, and they remain optimistic that he will remain in the organization.

Santana didn’t make his scheduled start today at extended spring training. He was supposed to go six innings or throw 85 pitches.

Santana threw 76 pitches in 4 1/3 innings in his most recent outing, allowing two runs and six hits, walking none and striking out eight. His fastball was clocked at 86-88 mph, his changeup at 72-78 mph and his slider at 77-81 mph.

The rest of the plan called for Santana, 35, to join Triple-A Norfolk on June 8 and start at Durham, and to join Double-A Bowie on June 13 for a home game against Harrisburg.

Staying on a five-day schedule, Santana could pitch for the Orioles as early as June 18. They would most likely need to create a spot in their rotation.

The next step, of course, is adjusting the opt-out date.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette said the club is still working on it. All signs point to an agreement.

Santana’s close relationship with assistant athletic trainer Chris Correnti, who’s supervising his rehab in Sarasota, figures to work in the Orioles’ favor. Correnti also worked with Santana during their days with the Mets.

“We’re trying to complete the last step of the rehab program with Santana,” Duquette said.

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. He previously missed the 2011 season while recovering from left shoulder surgery.

The Orioles signed the two-time Cy Young Award winner to a minor league contract on March 4. He’s 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA in 360 major league games.

In 2012, Santana went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts for the Mets and threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1 against the Cardinals.

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