Santana slump one of few Tribe negatives

BY foxsports • April 14, 2011

There was a certain symmetry to the Indians' first 12 games of the season. They lost their first two, then won eight in a row, and now have lost their last two. The last of those losses was a 4-3 loss to the Angels in 12 innings Wednesday night.

Despite Wednesday's loss, the Indians still went 4-2 on their West Coast trip to Seattle and Anaheim, Calif. There weren't many negatives on the trip, as for the most part, the Indians' hitting, pitching and defense were all good on the trip.

One troubling development, however, was the slump of Carlos Santana. The switch-hitting second-year catcher, who is also the Indians' cleanup hitter, had a dismal trip, hitting .087 (2-for-23).

In the Indians' loss Wednesday night, Santana was 0-for-4. He is now hitless in his last 20 at-bats, and his batting average has plunged to .205. This from a catcher who has had minor league seasons of hitting .303, .316 and .326.

Indians manager Manny Acta says he thinks Santana has been putting too much pressure on himself at the plate. Certainly digging his way out of a slump is something Santana didn't have a lot of experience with while in the minor leagues.

Fortunately for Acta and the Indians, the team's offense hasn't struggled during Santana's slump. Enough of the other hitters in the lineup are hitting to help carry the load while Santana continues to search for his swing.

Santana's track record suggests that he'll eventually get things figured out and will return to being the hitter he has been throughout most of his professional career. But for now, he is trying to cope with the most severe slump of his still brief major league career.

NOTES, QUOTES

--3B Jason Donald is scheduled to move his injury-rehab assignment to Class AAA Columbus on Thursday. In three games with Class AA Akron, Donald was 3-for-11. He is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand.

--RHP Joe Smith could be activated off the disabled list this weekend, perhaps in time for Friday's game with Baltimore. In four appearances on a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron, Smith has a 2.45 ERA. In 3 2/3 innings, he has allowed one run on one hit, with seven strikeouts and two walks. He has been on the disabled list since the start of the season due to a strained abdominal muscle.

--LHP Drew Pomeranz, the Indians' top pick, the fifth player taken overall in last year's June Draft, made his second professional start Wednesday for Class A Kinston vs. Wilmington. Pomeranz pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit, with eight strikeouts and two walks. In his two starts for Kinston, Pomeranz has pitched a total of 11 innings and has a 0.00 ERA. He has allowed three hits, struck out 17 and walked two.

--OF Grady Sizemore (microfracture knee surgery), who had been at Class AA Akron on an injury-rehab assignment, has been moved to Class AAA Columbus to continue his rehab. "He's getting closer," said manager Manny Acta. "We're moving him to Columbus. He'll continue his rehab, and we'll take it from there."

--C Carlos Santana's slump continues to deepen. Santana was 0-for-4 Wednesday. He is now hitless in his last 20 at-bats.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Teams, prior to the Indians doing it this year, who had won eight games in a row after losing their first two games of the season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "If I spend five minutes worrying about our attendance, that's five minutes I'm taking away from my preparation to make this team better." -- Manny Acta, on the Indians' poor attendance so far this season.

MEDICAL WATCH:

--RHP Joe Smith (strained abdominal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron on April 7. Smith could be activated off the disabled list in time for the April 15 game with Baltimore.

--CF Grady Sizemore (left knee surgery in June 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29. He had been at Class AA Akron on an injury-rehab assignment and has been moved to Class AAA Columbus to continue his rehab.

--3B Jason Donald (broken left hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron on April 10, and he was scheduled to move to Class AAA Columbus on April 14. He likely will miss the season's first month.

--OF Trevor Crowe (right shoulder surgery in March 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He will be out until at least late July.


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