Still waiting on Indians' Carlos Santana

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While Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton made their much hyped debuts on Tuesday, one of the game’s other top-five prospects, Carlos Santana, has been left in Triple-A to continue his harassment of International League pitchers.
The 24-year-old Santana is hitting .314/.447/.580 with 12 homers and 47 RBI in 188 at-bats for Triple-A Columbus. He’s walked six more times than he’s struck out (44 to 38), and he’s even 6-for-6 stealing bases. He ranks third in the International League in OPS behind veteran first basemen Dan Johnson and Chris Richard. Only Mike Hessman and Johnson have hit more homers.
Meanwhile, Lou Marson has batted .193/.262/.267 as the Indians’ starting catcher. He finally contributed his first homer last week, but that’s his only hit in his last 22 at-bats.
Of course, there is a reason Santana wasn’t hauled up as soon as the Indians were sure he wouldn’t be a super-two player after 2012; he’s not the defender that Marson is behind the plate. He throws out less than a quarter of would-be basestealers, and his game-calling skills continue to leave something to be desired.
Santana isn’t going to be moved off catcher — he may always be below average defensively, but he also doesn’t embarrass himself. The Indians will just continue to be patient with him. His opportunity may come immediately after the All-Star break or in August. Victor Martinez didn’t establish himself in the majors until age 25. Santana, a similar all-around talent, is on a seemingly identical path. He’s not going to be a threat to hit .300 annually like Martinez, but he should have some 25-homer seasons even while sitting about once a week.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.