Orioles’ interest in Ervin Santana “has increased”

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The dominoes are now falling quickly on the starting pitching market, and the Orioles are looking to make an acquisition before the well runs completely dry.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun heard from a source Tuesday that the Orioles front office has increased its show of interest in free agent right-hander Ervin Santana since Bronson Arroyo, a target of the O’s at one point, signed a two-year, $19 million deal last Friday with Diamondbacks.

Santana, 31, posted an outstanding 3.24 ERA and 1.14 WHIP across 32 starts last year for the Royals, striking out 161 batters in 211 innings. His market has been slow-moving because he is tied to draft pick compensation.

Baltimore’s current projected rotation goes Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman. The O’s could push Gausman to the bullpen or start him off at Triple-A Norfolk.

Aaron Hicks would like to avoid Tommy John surgery

Aaron Hicks
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The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.

One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.

Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.

Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.