A Day Off Could Be Just What Cleveland Indians Slugger Carlos Santana Needs

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Taking on a new role in 2014 has thus far not suited Cleveland Indians third baseman and catcher Carlos Santana very well when it comes to his offensive production at the plate. Santana is hitting just .145 with one homer and three runs batted in. On Monday the struggles of Santana came to a head, as he was sat down by Indians manager Terry Francona with his first “off day” of the 2014 season. “I thought it would be really good for Carlos to go out and hit today, and just hit, and hit, and hit and then not play,” Francona said Monday afternoon. “There’s just a few reasons I thought it would be good for him (to sit).”

Santana has just two hits since the second game of a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres back on Apr. 9. Since that time he’s 2-for-44, an average of just .045. He did hit his first homer of the season in the team’s losing effort on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. “It’s a long season,” Santana said Monday. “I’m a good player, I’m a good hitter, I’m fighting, I play hard all the time.”

The Indian said that he’s had seasons in which he’s started slow, but this season has been a huge red flag. A .145 average for a player the Indians are counting on to be a huge offensive threat is partially the reason the team is 15th in all of baseball in batting, carrying a .236 average into Monday’s affair with the AL Central rival Kansas City Royals. Santana got off to a very hot start last season, as after 18 games he was hitting .388 with four homers and 10 RBIs for the Tribe.

“He starting to chase some balls out of the zone, he’s getting a little anxious,” Francona said. “He’s always had that volatile swing, but he stays in the zone so well, yesterday he really started chasing.” Francona’s decision to sit Santana makes perfect sense. With Jason Giambi available for at bats coming off the DL on Monday, it was time to give Santana a break and see if he can clear his head a bit. “I need to keep strong and keep working,” Santana said.

Hopefully once he’s back in the lineup on Tuesday, his swing will show that a day off was just what the doctor ordered for one of the big bats of the Indians.

Matt Loede has covered the Cleveland Indians for 20 years for National Networks like AP Radio, Metro Networks and other local and national stations. Follow him on twitter @mattloede

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