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Orioles targeting mid-June for Johan's debut

Orioles targeting mid-June for Johan's debut

MILWAUKEE -- Assuming he does not exercise his opt-out clause, Johan Santana will pitch one more time in extended spring training and could be an option for the Orioles rotation by mid-June.

The plan is for Santana, signed to a Minor League deal this spring, to get around 85 pitches on Monday and then pitch for the team's Triple-A affiliate on June 8 and Double-A on the 13th.

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"He has got to approve it, they have to approve it, so we're not there yet, but that's tentatively," manager Buck Showalter said of the plan for Santana if he stays in the organization. "So you are talking about the 18th or 19th, that's five days after the last outing. You talk to [athletic trainer] Chris Correnti, who has been with him the whole time, on what he's recommending. But they have to go along with it."

Santana, who has a June 1 opt-out in his contract, would ideally be up to six innings after the pair of Minor League starts. The two-time Cy Young Award winner signed an incentives-based deal with the O's in Spring Training and other clubs have been monitoring that situation as Santana gets closer and closer.

"If these three options work out, he'd be an option for us," Showalter said of an Orioles rotation that has just one starter, Bud Norris, with an ERA under 4.30. "It's one thing being able to get through it, it's another thing have people evaluate whether it will work up here."

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

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