Domingo Santana hasn't had the best start to his big-league career. On Monday, the tough lessons continued both at the plate and in the field.
The rookie left fielder is still seeking his first major league hit. Monday night he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, making his big league totals 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts. Then, in the ninth inning of a 2-2 game with two out and a man on first and a man on second, Joe Mauer delivered a base hit that scored not just one run, but two after Santana could not find a way to get the ball back to the infield in a timely manner.
"I just panicked," Santana said. "I was just trying to throw the ball to the cut-off man, but I just panicked."
"You've just got to get the ball in," Bo Porter said. "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 said the rough start has been really tough on him, but denied that his offensive struggles are starting to be seen on defense too.
"When you're done with an at-bat, that's it, you've got to go play defense," Santana said.
That's probably music to his manager's ears.
"When you are at the major league level, a huge part of it is being able to move and transition from offense to defense to baserunning, every aspect of the game," Porter said. "You can't carry the negative from one portion of the game to the next."
Regardless of whether or not the offense affected the defense, the ninth-inning play remains one the Astros' skipper believes should have been made.
"You have to make those plays to win major league baseball games," Porter said. "That's basic."