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Baltimore Orioles place two players on COVID-19 IL

Jul 20, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander (25) hits an RBI double during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles placed outfielder Anthony Santander and pitcher Keegan Akin — who was scheduled to start Wednesday — on the COVID-19 injured list.

The moves came ahead of the team’s series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays, a Wednesday matinee.

Alexander Wells was plucked from the taxi squad to start for Akin and outfielder Ryan McKenna was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk after getting optioned Tuesday. Wells went 5 2/3 innings in the emergency start and gave up three runs on five hits, striking out seven.

The Rays rallied in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4.

It wasn’t clear if either player tested positive or how long they would be out. Santander tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of summer training camp in 2020.

Being placed on the injured list does not mean the player tested positive for the virus. Being a close contact with someone who did test positive or showing symptoms could result in a trip to the COVID list.

“We’re following the COVID protocols and had to put them on the injured list this morning,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

The Orioles are among the MLB teams that have met the 85 percent threshold of vaccinated Tier 1 personnel — players, coaches, key staffers.

Santander, 26, is hitting .231 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 62 games. He belted 11 home runs in 37 games in 2020.

Akin, 26, has an 0-5 record in 13 games (eight starts) this season with an 8.19 ERA. He has one win to his name in 21 career games with the O’s.

“This is really the first time this has happened with us, and it’s unfortunate, but I saw a couple other teams had the same sort of issue recently,” Hyde said of the virus. “Ready for it to be over.”

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–Field Level Media