Santander progressing, close to playing outfield

Rule 5 Draft pick, dealing with elbow inflammation, eager to prove himself

Santander progressing, close to playing outfield

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles Rule 5 Draft choice Anthony Santander had an MRI on his right elbow on Thursday, and two days later, reported that the elbow felt better.

"There was only small inflammation on it because I have so many days without throwing, but feeling better now," Santander said through an interpreter.

The Orioles drafted Santander from Cleveland in December, and though he's an outfielder, offseason shoulder surgery has prevented him from playing in the field. He's been exclusively a designated hitter.

Manager Buck Showalter had said he was eager to look at Santander in the outfield.

"Knowing the history of everything he's had, it's something we want to make sure we get our arms around before he goes into the outfield," Showalter said.

Santander said he wasn't far away from playing. "I think it's just a matter of a few days. Monday I start my regular routine again, so I think it's just a few days away," Santander said.

Santander, 22, knows he has to prove himself.

"It's very important for me because the team selected me in the Rule 5 for something, and I really want to show them what I can do. But the reality is that it's out of my control, so I'm just taking it a day at a time," Santander said.

Santander is one of two Rule 5 Draft picks contending for an outfield spot. Aneury Tavarez, drafted from Boston, is the other.

"We definitely talked about that, but we understand the situation that we're in. It's a competition right now. Both of us could make the team. At the same time, we could be returned to our previous team, so we understand it's a tough situation, but we just go out there and work hard," Santander said.

Rich Dubroff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.