BOSTON: Carlos Santana is coming around at the plate and Indians manager Terry Francona believes it might be because he’s lost some of the aggressiveness in his swing.
While he’s hitting only .180 for the season, Santana is batting .300 with eight RBI in nine games since returning from the seven-day concussion disabled list. He has totaled 12 RBI in his last 13 games, all on the road. Twenty-one of his 24 RBI this season have been on the road.
And he’s still hard to keep off the basepaths, drawing a bases-loaded walk, his 49th free pass of the season, to score the winning run Saturday.
“His at-bats have been good. He’s starting to look like Carlos, which really, really should help us,” Francona said.
Francona said Santana’s “unique swing” with a lot of movement has been quieter since he returned from the disabled list.
“He was getting that front side so hard that he was fouling balls off and balls that looked like balls were strikes,” Francona said. “Now when he gets a good pitch to hit, he hits it. It seems like he’s recognizing pitches a little bit quicker and that’s probably because there’s less movement.”
WHAT A DAY — Friday was a whirlwind for Indians reliever Kyle Crockett, not made any easier when the 22-year-old left-hander missed his flight connection in a Washington, D.C., airport he said was a “madhouse.” But he still pitched 1⅔ innings Friday and went one-third of an inning Saturday.
He said he learned at midnight Thursday he was being promoted to the majors for the second time. The Triple-A Columbus Clippers had just returned home from a road trip. He had a 7:45 a.m. flight, but because he didn’t make the 9:30 a.m. connection, he had to wait in the airport until 2:30 p.m. He arrived at Fenway Park at 4:45 for the 7:10 p.m. game.
Crockett, who started this season at Double-A Akron, was a fourth-round pick out of the University of Virginia in the June 2013 draft.
“I definitely didn’t expect it,” Crockett said of his fast rise. “Coming out of college they told me how hard it would be and how long of a road it would be. Being able to come up this fast has been awesome.”
Picks signed — Signed were 2014 draft picks Jared Robinson (11th round) on Saturday and Greg Allen (sixth round), Alexis Pantoja (ninth round) and Dominic DeMasi (31st round) on Friday.
— Marla Ridenour