Domingo Santana is 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts and “just panicked” defensively

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Astros prospect Domingo Santana hit .292 with 14 homers and an .844 OPS in 104 games at Triple-A to earn his first call-up to the big leagues, but the 21-year-old outfielder has been an absolute mess so far in Houston.

Santana has begun his MLB career by going 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts at the plate and in watching last night’s Astros-Twins game it amazed me how many sub-90 mph fastballs the right-handed-hitting rookie swung through from left-handers Tommy Milone and Brian Duensing like they were approaching triple-digits.

And as if that weren’t bad enough–0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts!–Santana also made a bone-headed defensive play in left field last night, lackadaisically fielding Joe Mauer’s go-ahead single in the ninth inning of what had been a 2-2 game to allow an extra run to come around to score.

Here’s how Santana explained the defensive miscue afterward to Howard Chen of CSNHouston.com:

I just panicked. I was just trying to throw the ball to the cut-off man, but I just panicked.

And here was manager Bo Porter’s take:

You’ve just got to get the ball in. Whether you throw the ball to the shortstop or you throw it to the first baseman, you’ve got to get the ball to the infield. At no point should the outfielder hold on to the baseball.

Santana still projects to have a solid career, but watching him last night it was tough not to feel sorry for him and wonder how long it’ll take him to get comfortable in the big leagues. He seems totally, utterly lost.

Howie Kendrick to undergo an MRI after exiting game with a serious leg injury

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Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.

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Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.

Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.