SARASOTA, Fla. — Johan Santana is hoping the Baltimore Orioles’ patience with him pays off in another chance to pitch in the big leagues.
Santana was out of the majors last season while recuperating from surgery on his left shoulder. He signed a one-year, incentive-laden contract with the Orioles on Tuesday, and worked out with them for the first time on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Santana said he’s not ready to pitch in the major leagues yet. Baltimore has set a target of June 1 for his arrival.
Santana, once a dominant pitcher for the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets, is eager to show he can still be effective. Last week in a showcase for the Orioles and other major league teams, Santana struggled to throw more than 80 mph.
“As long as I don’t feel anything in my arm, I’ll be able to go out there. I know what to do. And again, you’ve got to make adjustments. There’s no question about it. That’s what I’m going to do. But right now, I don’t really know what my velocity will be,” Santana said.
Santana was a two-time Cy Young winner with Minnesota. He pitched the only no-hitter in the history of the New York Mets in 2012.
Santana is 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA in 11 seasons. He’s comfortable that no one will try to rush his comeback.
“One of the biggest things is they understand exactly where I am as far as my rehab and everything. And then they’ve got the confidence that they’ll be able to help me to come back. We’re on the same page and I’m very happy for that,” Santana said.
Manager Buck Showalter has watched his team add right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, outfielder Nelson Cruz and Santana since spring training began three weeks ago.
“I’m excited. I think it’s great,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to say it’s a no-lose proposition. There are things you lose, but it makes a risk worth taking. I think it’s exciting, the possibility down the road. I’m hoping we get five starters who pitch so well, we don’t need it.”
Showalter looks at Santana as a starter, but he could pitch out of the bullpen if needed. Santana hasn’t made a relief appearance since 2003. More important is Baltimore’s ability to be a factor in the AL East.
“This team is going to contend. And I am going to prepare to try to help as much as I can in any way. So whenever it is time for me to join the team I’m going to help as much as I can and hopefully it will be sometime soon,” Santana said.
Hochevar out 2 months
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Kansas City Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar likely will miss at least the first two months of the season because of a sprained ligament in his right elbow.
Hochevar, the first pick in the 2006 amateur draft, got hurt Monday while pitching to Matt Davidson, his final batter during a two-inning outing against the Chicago White Sox. The sprain was revealed in an MRI taken Tuesday.
Manager Ned Yost said Wednesday that Hochevar won’t throw for two-to-three weeks and “probably the best-case scenario” would be a return at the end of May or early June.
“His second-to-the-last pitch against the White Sox he felt a twinge in his elbow,” Yost said. “He ended up throwing a cutter to strike the guy out. He felt OK coming in, but the next day it was real stiff and sore.”
Hochevar was 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA and two saves in 58 relief appearances last year. He is earning $5.21 million and is eligible for free agency after the season.
He was sidelined from mid-June until mid-September in 2010 because of a sprained elbow and made only 17 starts and one relief appearance that year.
“We were a little nervous that it could have been worse,” Yost said. “We think we got as good a report as we’d hoped for coming back. But, again, you really won’t know until three weeks to see exactly where we’re at.”
Harvey still earning
NEW YORK — Matt Harvey may not throw a single pitch this season, but he’s already earned $60,000 in bonuses.
The 2014 contract of the injured New York Mets star contains unusual provisions that reward him for 2013 accomplishments.
Harvey has earned a $10,000 bonus for making last year’s All-Star team and $50,000 for finishing tied for fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting under the deal.
Represented by agent Scott Boras, Harvey becomes eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season.
“It’s always nice. I just found about it when they were doing all that stuff,” Harvey said Wednesday at spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. “I let Scott take care of all that stuff. I just play.”
Harvey gets a salary of $546,625 while on the major league roster this year under the one-year deal announced Monday, and he is paid at an annual rate of $299,250 if on option to the minors.
Recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on Oct. 22, Harvey gets paid at the big league rate while on the disabled list or during a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment. He may not return to the mound for the Mets until 2015.