Santander will be 'good to go' for opener

Lakins Sr. optioned to Triple-A; Tate, Sulser make roster

March 31st, 2021

The Orioles’ roster is set, and it includes one of their top sluggers, healthy and active. Manager Brandon Hyde said Wednesday that outfielder Anthony Santander will be available for Thursday’s season opener against the Red Sox, after Santander missed the final week-plus of spring nursing an oblique injury.

“He’ll be ready,” Hyde said. “He’s going to be good to go.”

Santander was held out of Grapefruit League action since March 23 due to the issue, but he progressed to simulated game action and live batting practice earlier this week. He participated fully in the Orioles’ workout Wednesday, before departing with the team to Boston for Thursday’s opener. The switch-hitting right fielder had his breakout 2020 season cut short due to a left oblique strain, after hitting .261 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and an .890 OPS in 37 games. Hyde said the current issue wouldn’t limit Santander defensively.

The Orioles on Wednesday also made two final roster decisions with regards to their bullpen, unofficially setting their 26-man unit for Opening Day: right-handers Dillon Tate and Cole Sulser will head north with the club, while right-hander Travis Lakins Sr. was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Righty reliever Shawn Armstrong will be placed on the paternity list to begin the year, multiple sources told The club has not confirmed the Armstrong transaction.

Lakins Sr. produced a 2.81 ERA in middle relief last season but struggled this spring, allowing seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. He was competing with Tate and Sulser for what was believed to be the final spot in Baltimore’s nine-man bullpen, before Armstrong left the team to attend the birth of his first child. Hyde said Wednesday that both Tate and Sulser made the team, leaving the O’s relief corps heading into Opening Day as such:

Tanner Scott, LHP
César Valdez, RHP
Paul Fry, LHP
Dillon Tate, RHP
Cole Sulser, RHP
Tyler Wells, RHP
Mac Sceroler, RHP
Wade LeBlanc, LHP
Adam Plutko, RHP

Hyde also said third baseman Maikel Franco would be ready to head north with the club and that outfielder DJ Stewart was “more than likely” to begin the year on the injured list, as previously reported. Stewart has been sidelined with a left hamstring strain since March 5. Franco signed late, but he found his way into six spring games after signing a one-year, $800,000 free-agent deal on March 16.