Johan Santana is adding velocity in comeback with Orioles

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Back when the Orioles signed Johan Santana to a minor-league contract in early March he was reportedly topping out in the low-80s with his fastball, but now things are looking a bit more promising for the two-time Cy Young winner’s comeback.

Santana threw two innings in an extended spring training game yesterday and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that “he was clocked at 86 to 89 miles per hour” in what was his first game action.

That’s still not at Santana’s pre-shoulder surgery peak, but it’s close enough to be very encouraging and, even if he doesn’t add any more velocity, could be enough to let him succeed in a relief role.

Santana hasn’t thrown a big-league pitch since August of 2012 and the Orioles will be in no rush to push along his recovery process, but the 35-year-old could be a factor in the second half.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.