Last month general manager Chris Antonetti expressed confidence that Carlos Santana would be ready for spring training following season-ending knee surgery in early August and today the Indians announced that he’s officially been cleared to resume all baseball activities.
Santana suffered a gruesome-looking knee injury in a home plate collision on August 2, but met yesterday with a doctor and is slated to begin baserunning and other agility drills when pitchers and catchers report to camp next week.
Prior to the injury Santana was having one of the most impressive rookie seasons by a catcher in baseball history and if healthy the 25-year-old switch-hitter is capable of emerging as one of the game’s elite all-around backstops this season. Had he not exhausted his Rookie of the Year eligibility by 20 at-bats, Santana would likely have cracked the top five in just about every prominent prospect ranking for 2011.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.