Johan Santana will remain with the Orioles

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Johan Santana had the ability to opt out of his contract with the Orioles at midnight tonight, but the team has convinced him to stick around.

The Orioles announced this evening that they have purchased Santana’s contract from Triple-A Norfolk and placed him on the 15-day disabled list. This means that he is officially on the team’s 40-man roster.

Reports about Santana have been positive in extended spring training, with his velocity reaching the high-80s. Orioles manager Buck Showalter told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun last week that he was hoping the 35-year-old southpaw would be ready to join the team’s rotation by June 18 or 19. Santana obviously still has some hurdles to cross, but it would be quite an accomplishment to make it back to the majors after his second major shoulder surgery.

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.