Santander on his latest opportunity with the Orioles

HOUSTON - Dwight Smith Jr. has joined the Orioles in Houston, allowing the medical staff to check on him again before he dressed and headed out of Minute Maid Park this afternoon.

Smith isn’t available to the media because he’s under concussion protocol.

In his place is outfielder Anthony Santander, who’s starting tonight in right field after the Orioles recalled him from Triple-A Norfolk.

Santander-Swing-Black-sidebar.jpg“I feel good,” Santander said via interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “Very thankful to the team for providing this opportunity. I feel strong, ready to help my team.

“Unfortunately things happen in this game. Players get hurt and it opens up opportunities for other. So I’m just trying to be here and help my team.”

The Orioles chose Santander over Joey Rickard and Cedric Mullins, who broke camp with the team. He’s fighting to get noticed among a group that also includes non-roster outfielder Mason Williams.

“There are plenty of outfielders in the minors,” he said. “We realize it’s a friendly competition among us and whoever does better will receive the call.”

The Orioles lost two outfielders to injuries in Arlington, Texas, with DJ Stewart sidelined by a sprained right ankle. Four players were forced to the bench in the series.

“Unfortunately, those are part of the games,” Santander said. “I’m here to bring my positive attitude and bring my tools and my abilities to help the team.”

Santander was slashing .263/.316/.421 with five home runs in 206 plate appearances with Norfolk. He homered last night while the team was in Columbus.

Asked how he’s been playing, Santander said, “Very good.”

“I think I was doing well, playing strong every single day, which is the most important thing, and I think, thankfully, because of that I was able to get the call.”

The Orioles gave Santander extended at-bats at Triple-A rather than bringing him north for opening day. He had one of the most productive camps of any hitter, batting .333/.389/.697 with six doubles and two home runs in 18 games, but they wanted to continue his development down below.

Santander had appeared in only 11 games above Double-A before this year.

“This is a game of adjustments,” Santander said, “so every day one adjustment at a time just makes you a better player.”

His stay with the Orioles will last at least seven days, the length of Smith’s assignment on the concussion injured list. The goal, of course, is to convince the club to hold onto him no matter Smith’s status.

“The opportunities here, what I’m going to do is play hard, which is my part,” he said. “Whatever decision they want to make after that, it’s really up to the team.”

For the Astros
Derek Fisher LF
Alex Bregman SS
Michael Brantley DH
Yuli Gurriel 3B
Josh Reddick RF
Robinson Chirinos C
Tyler White 1B
Tony Kemp 2B
Myles Straw CF

Gerrit Cole RHP

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