Johan Santana

Manny Machado AP

Manny Machado to hit in simulated game today

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There’s no clear timetable for Manny Machado to rejoin the Orioles, but he’s about to take a step forward in his rehab from knee surgery.

According to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Machado will take two at-bats today in a simulated game against rehabbing left-hander Johan Santana. These will be his first at-bats in a competitive setting since he had the medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee repaired in October.

While this qualifies as progress, Machado hasn’t been cleared to run the bases. That will be the biggest step of all. Once that happens, the Orioles can think about sending him on a minor league rehab assignment. That still sounds a little ways off, though.

The Orioles have used Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty, and Steve Lombardozzi at third base so far this season. They are hitting .189/.189/.324 as a group.

Johan Santana tests his surgically-repaired shoulder by throwing off full mound

Johan Santana Getty
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Johan Santana still has a long way to go before he pitches in another major league game, but he took an important step today in his recovery from his second shoulder capsule surgery.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Santana has advanced to throwing off a full-mound in Orioles’ camp. The southpaw is expected to throw two more bullpen sessions before having hitters track his pitches in the batter’s box. The next step would be facing live hitters.

Nearly one full year removed from surgery, Santana hasn’t had any setbacks with his shoulder. Kubatko writes that he could be ready for game action sooner than the Orioles originally anticipated, but there’s no way to know for sure until he starts to build up his workload.

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

Santana hasn’t pitched in a major league game since August 17, 2012.

Johan Santana and Dylan Bundy are rehab buddies

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
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Johan Santana is one of the best pitchers of this generation and he’s coming back from multiple shoulder surgeries at age 35.

Dylan Bundy is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and he’s coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery at age 21.

They’re both in Orioles camp and Adam Berry of MLB.com writes that they “have developed somewhat of a competitive relationship as they work their way back to game action.” Bundy is currently throwing from flat ground, whereas Santana has advanced to throwing from a half-mound, and so “Bundy was lobbying to catch up to Santana and throw off a higher mound.”

Not exactly breaking news or anything–both pitchers are hoping to make an impact for the Orioles in the second half–but little stuff like this always makes me smile.