O's plan to activate Santander this week

Rule 5 Draft pick has been rehabbing elbow injury

O's plan to activate Santander this week

OAKLAND -- Orioles Rule 5 Draft pick Anthony Santander's long-awaited 2017 debut on the 25-man roster will come this week, manager Buck Showalter said before Sunday's series finale against the A's.

The outfielder landed on the 60-day disabled list with ligament damage in his right elbow and will be activated Thursday, a day after the O's wrap up their 10-game West Coast road trip in Seattle.

The O's used the full 20 days of Santander's rehab assignment, as they expected. The team has to activate him this week to avoid losing him to his original club, the Indians, as Rule 5 Draft agreements outline.

Showalter indicated that he will likely use Santander -- Baltimore's No. 9 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com -- as a reserve in his first game back, rather than throwing the outfielder into the mix from the get-go.

The O's are still interested to see how the 22-year-old will adjust defensively, making the move to Major League ballparks. He landed on the DL on April 2 and the team dispatched him to a Minor League rehab assignment July 27.

"The thing I'm trying to get a feel for, and haven't got a real definitive answer -- I don't think anybody can yet -- is what kind of defender he's going to be," Showalter said. "In the outfield, you can't make the ball be hit to him. … Everyone thinks it's going to be OK. But I don't think anybody is ready to completely commit."

Added Showalter: "It's so different up here, too. The third deck, the depth perception. The ball gets to you a little faster."

Santander is slashing .333/.400/.619 over his last six games with Double-A Bowie.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Orioles on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.