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Orioles select contract of Johan Santana, place him on 15-day DL

Santana will be evaluated after a start in extended spring training to determine if he needs time on a minor-league rehab assignment.

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The Orioles have announced that they have selected the contract of LHP Johan Santana and that they have placed him on the disabled list. The Orioles had an open spot on their 40-man roster after DFA'ing Evan Meek.

If you've been following the Santana story, he has been pitching in extended spring training as he recovers from left shoulder surgery, and he had a clause in his contract that he could opt out of his deal with the Orioles if he did was not activated by midnight tonight. The various Orioles beats have been reporting that the Orioles and Santana had been working on a deal, to extend his opt out date because they believed he was close to being ready to be promoted.

According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, Santana technically did opt out of his contract, so by purchasing his contract the Orioles were able to place him on the disabled list so that he can make rehab starts and be ready to be promoted ot the majors.

The plan that the Orioles have been publicizing is one that will have him ready to be promoted by June 18th after making three starts in the minors. The word from the Orioles is that Santana will make one more start in extended spring training either tomorrow or Wednesday, after which it will be determined if he is ready for a call up, or if he needs more time at the minors. It certainly sounds like he needs some more time in the minors, but I've learned better than to try and guess what the Orioles are thinking at times.

The reports out of Sarasota on Santana have been increasingly positive, as his fastball velocity has crept up to about 88 mph, along with a change up in the mid-70s.

It remains to be seen if Santana will pitch as a starter or a reliever when he makes it to Baltimore, though Kubatko anticipates it will be as a starter. If that's the case, one of the current five will need to be traded, released, demoted, or sent to bullpen to make room for him. Which one could be anyone's decision. Unfortunately the two pitchers who have performed the worst so far, Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez, aren't going anywhere. Bud Norris has pitched too well to be sent to the bullpen at this point, and it's hard to imagine them sticking Wei-Yin Chen out there despite his tendency not to pitch deep into games. Miguel Gonzalez seems fated to be the one chopped, which is a shame as he has gotten into a groove of late.

Regardless of who it will be, the starting pitchers are now on notice. There is a new guy coming to the team in a few weeks (maybe less), so they better make the most of every start they have until then to prove they aren't the weakest link.