Orioles sign former Mets ace Santana to minor league deal

(Reuters) - Two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday as the oft-injured left-hander continues his quest to return as a Major League Baseball pitcher. The 34-year-old Santana, who missed the 2011 and 2013 seasons with shoulder injuries while with the New York Mets, is rehabbing from his second left shoulder surgery in Florida, where the Orioles have their spring training complex. The Venezuelan became a free agent when the Mets bought out his contract for $5.5 million to escape having to pay him $25 million for the 2014 season. Santana, who auditioned for several MLB teams, has compiled a career record of 139-78 and won the American League Cy Young Award as top pitcher in 2004 and 2006 for the Minnesota Twins. Santana joined the Mets in a 2008 trade that sent four prospects to Minnesota. The lefty posted a 46-34 record with a 3.18 ERA over 109 starts for the Mets after signing a six-year contract worth a guaranteed $137.5 million. Santana became the only Mets pitcher to throw a no-hitter with his 2012 gem against the St Louis Cardinals. (Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)