If their latest action is any indication, the Indians’ decision to have catcher Carlos Santana work out at third base wasn’t just made on a whim. As Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer reports, the Indians have sent infield coach Mike Sarbaugh down to the Dominican Republic to help Santana as he plays in winter ball. GM Chris Antonetti says that reports have been encouraging.
“It’s still very early in the process,” said GM Chris Antonetti. “Sarbie has been down there for a few days with Carlos. He’s made a couple of errors, but so far the reports have been encouraging.
“He made two errors in one game, but he also made a nice diving play.”
The Indians will have a better feel for the situation when Sarbaugh returns to Cleveland and gives them his report.
The Indians needed to make room behind the dish for Yan Gomes after his breakout season in 2013, and with Nick Swisher at first base, Santana volunteered to work out at third base, effectively pushing Lonnie Chisenhall down on the depth chart. If the experiment at third base doesn’t work out, the Indians shouldn’t have any issues making Santana their full-time DH.
Santana last played third base in 2008, one game with the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate Inland Empire. Prior to that, he had played five games at third with Single-A Great Lakes in 2007, and 38 games combined in 2006 with Single-A Vero Beach and Ogden.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look:
Even while injured, Miguel Cabrera is a force to be reckoned with. The 33-year-old slugger has been playing with a contusion on his knee since Wednesday, according to postgame comments made by Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus.
That didn’t stop him from whacking a 410-foot home run against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler on Friday night, skirting the center field fence to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the first inning. In the third, he lead off the inning with another long drive off of Wisler, targeting his changeup for a 421-foot shot, his 38th home run of the season:
It’s Cabrera’s sixth two-run homer game since the start of the season, and his first against the Braves since 2005. He needs just two more home runs to keep an even 40 on the year, which would return him to the kind of league-leading levels that accentuated his MVP case in 2012 and 2013. If he can do it by the end of this Tigers-Braves game (unlikely, but not unheard of), he’ll be the 15th major leaguer to hit four home runs in a single game.