BALTIMORE -- Roughly three and a half weeks before participating in his first workout of Summer Camp on Tuesday, Orioles left fielder Anthony Santander suffered a low-grade fever he said lasted two days. He was back in Florida, where he'd remained after Spring Training was suspended to the coronavirus pandemic,
BALTIMORE -- Roughly three and a half weeks before participating in his first workout of Summer Camp on Tuesday, Orioles left fielder Anthony Santander suffered a low-grade fever he said lasted two days. He was back in Florida, where he'd remained after Spring Training was suspended to the coronavirus pandemic, rather than returning home to his native Venezuela. Santander said he did not experience any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 and felt symptom free before reporting to Oriole Park for his intake screening in early July.
Santander didn't appear on the field though until Tuesday, when he participated in batting practice and light defensive drills at Camden Yards. The reason, Santander said Wednesday morning, was a positive COVID-19 test and the resulting 14-day quarantine. Santander said he has been symptom free for nearly a month; to return to action, players who previously tested positive must have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, per MLB guidelines.
"I'm not contagious, I'm happy to be back on the field and ready to work out," Santander said. "Now we have a couple days for Opening Day, so I just have to work and try to get ready as soon as possible."
Santander's return leaves Dwight Smith Jr as the only member of the Orioles yet to appear in Summer Camp, and it clears up the uncertainty regarding their outfield picture significantly. If healthy, Santander projects as Baltimore's everyday No. 3 hitter and starter in either corner spot after breaking out to hit .261 with 20 homers and a .773 OPS last season. Santander said he kept in shape during quarantine by doing pushups and core exercises at home.
Santander will continue to do cage work and track pitches in the bullpen for a few days before ramping up to facing live pitching, manager Brandon Hyde said. The goal is to have Santander ready for Opening Day in Boston on July 24.
"Physically, I feel ready to go," Santander said. "This was obviously a very serious issue. I'm very thankful that I got mild symptoms and I'm going to put everything I've got to try to be ready for the season."
Added Santander: "We need to [take] precautions all the time with what's going on. I think we need to make every single effort that we can to try to play the games and bring some joy to the fans. Hopefully, everybody is smart about doing the right thing and just be careful. Wear a mask as much as possible and keep social distance."
The Orioles continued to slice their Summer Camp roster Wednesday, reassigning right-handers Branden Kline and Eric Hanhold to their secondary site in Bowie, Md., according to Hyde. Both were battling for bullpen roles and both will be candidates to appear for the club at some point in 2020.
Kline, 28, posted a 5.93 ERA in 34 games as a rookie in 2019. Hanhold, 26, appeared in three big league games with the Mets in 2018 and was acquired on a waiver claim last September.
The Orioles have 12 relievers remaining in big league camp and are expected to carry at least 10 on their expanded 30-man Opening Day roster.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.