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Santana throws off mound for first time

Santana throws off mound for first time

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Johan Santana threw off a regular mound for the first time Thursday and manager Buck Showalter indicated he could be pitching in an extended spring game sooner than expected.

"It is a long process, but there's big hurdles he's clearing every day," Showalter said of Santana, who is coming off his second left shoulder surgery. "I like the fact that he's doing it and is able to come back on his work day, his start day. Getting over those hurdles. He hasn't missed anything yet. You can see in his face how good he feels about it."

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Santana said he will throw again Tuesday and three days after that will do the same thing he did Thursday, which included getting up and warming up, stopping and repeating the cycle.

"If we feel good and everything is coming along we are going to start facing hitters and building it up," Santana said of the plan following next week's mound session. "After that's it's just a matter of time. We don't know how long or how many times we are going to do that until we start getting into games and hopefully able to compete."

Santana, signed March 4, will stay in extended spring and work with athletic trainer Chris Correnti and said the biggest thing is his recovery. The 35-year-old, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, could be an option for the Orioles in June and has been working on throwing all of his pitches.

"Put it this way: I feel good," he said. "What that means, time will tell. I feel really good. So does that mean we are going to be on the mound facing hitters soon? I don't know. But I'm optimistic when it's time I will be ready and we will carry that through the season. Not just one game and one time. I want to do it the rest of the season."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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