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Santos getting closer to return from DL

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Sergio Santos is expected to be out for another two weeks because of tightness in his right triceps muscle.

Santos has been on the disabled list since the middle of April, but has slowly begun to make some progress in his recovery. He is set to appear in games in extended spring training on Thursday and Saturday before starting a rehab assignment early next week with Class A Dunedin.

The only problem is that Santos is not completely symptom free. He is still experiencing some discomfort in the triceps area, but it has improved in recent weeks and potentially could be considered normal soreness.

"I think it's gotten to a point where it's very manageable and to where I can go out and pitch," Santos said. "I think that's why we really want to push it this week -- to kind of see where I'm at.

"To me, back-to-back [days] is big because I know I'm going to be doing it quite a bit. Hopefully we're winning and that will happen, but [I'm] just looking forward to that, getting back out and hopefully joining this team soon."

On the surface, the right triceps appears to have taken a lot more time to heal than originally expected. Santos hasn't pitched since April 13, and at the time the team stated it hoped to have him back in 15 days.

That clearly didn't happen, but Santos said he's only five days behind what he first expected. He initially went seven days without throwing and then advanced to 90 feet and then 120 feet before getting back on the mound.

Santos does have some security, in that an MRI last month didn't reveal any structural damage. He is currently dealing with inflammation and Santos said the discomfort he's feeling now doesn't necessarily raise red flags.

"No, because I think it's just, if you were to ask anybody who was kind of coming back ... I mean you feel it early on," said Santos, who missed almost all of last year with a right shoulder injury.

"It's not anywhere near where I was feeling when I first injured it. There's not any kind of lingering pain or anything that way. It's just something that I'm hoping I can kind of get through right now and get back out."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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