CLEVELAND – Mega prospect Carlos Santana could be wearing an Indians uniform before the All-Star break (July 12-15).
“There’s a chance that he’ll be up here,” said manager Manny Acta of Cleveland’s top prospect, who entered Thursday batting .307 for Triple-A Columbus, with a team-leading 12 home runs and 48 RBIs in 56 games.
The Indians have been reluctant to promote Santana, 24, for a number of reasons, one being that they didn’t feel he was ready to catch on the big-league level. But he has shown progress defensively for the Clippers.
“We’ve had some good reports about his defense,” Acta said. “We’ve heard more positives than negatives. He’s hit his whole life but he’s been a catcher for just a few years. We’ve been waiting to get him polished down there.”
According to Acta, Santana has had problems harnessing his top-shelf throwing arm.
“He’s got such a good arm and he worries about throwing the ball hard instead of getting it there quick,” Acta said. “He’s young. He’s got a canon and he wants people to see it sometimes, and that’s when he gets long.”
After saying it was possible that Santana would be called up over the next month, Acta backtracked a bit.
“Let’s put it this way, between (Thursday) and Sept. 1, he will be up here,” Acta said.
Indians fans are hoping the promotion comes sooner rather than later.
Acta stuck with Justin Masterson in the rotation and has been rewarded by the right-hander, who is 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA in his last three starts, including a complete-game, two-hit shutout of Boston on Wednesday night.
“It was just his stuff. That’s why we’re being so patient with him,” Acta said. “He’s got the stuff (to start).”
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Masterson is the first former Red Sox pitcher to throw a shut out at Boston since Aaron Sele did it for the Rangers in 1999, and the first to accomplish the feat while allowing two or less hits since Jack Lamabe threw a one-hitter against the BoSox in 1966.
Infielder Mark Grudzielanek and reliever Jamey Wright were officially released by the Indians after going unclaimed on the waiver wire.
Grudzielanek hit .273 without an extra-base hit and 11 RBIs in 30 games for Cleveland, while Wright went 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA in 18 appearances.
The Indians continue their homestand tonight, beginning a three-game interleague series against Acta’s former club, the Washington Nationals.
Jake Westbrook (3-3, 4.84 ERA) opens the set, opposing RHP Luis Atilano (5-2, 4.24), while Fausto Carmona (4-5, 3.49) starts for Cleveland on Saturday (7:05 p.m.) against RHP JD Martin (0-1, 2.31).
David Huff (2-7, 5.46) goes for the Indians in the series finale Sunday (1:05 p.m.), while the Nats counter with RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 2.57).
Recently demoted first baseman/outfielder Matt LaPorta went 4-for-4 with three homers and five RBIs in Columbus’ 8-0 shut out of Rochester on Wednesday. It was the first Clippers player to hit three homers in a game since 2005. … Columbus’ Carlos Carrasco got the win, tossing eight scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and striking out a season-high nine batters. Carrasco, acquired last year in the Cliff Lee trade with Philadelphia, is 5-2 with a 4.12 ERA in 11 starts. … Second baseman Jason Kipnis, Cleveland’s second-round draft pick last year, was promoted from advanced Class A Kinston to Double-A Akron. Kipnis hit .300 with six homers and 31 RBIs in 54 games with the K-Tribe.
The Indians entered Thursday with a 9-16 record at Progressive Field, losing 14 of their last 19 home games. … TBS has picked up Sunday’s game against Washington and will televise Strasburg’s second career start nationally. The Indians have sold over 8,000 tickets to the game in the last week, 2,000 alone Thursday. … Tonight, 7:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.