PHILADELPHIA -- Carlos Santana, the first baseman the Phillies lured from Cleveland this past winter, was smiling after recording his 1,000th career hit in style Saturday night.Santana, who left the Indians for a 3-year, $60 million contact over the winter -- a move that showed Philadelphia was serious in accelerating
PHILADELPHIA -- Carlos Santana, the first baseman the Phillies lured from Cleveland this past winter, was smiling after recording his 1,000th career hit in style Saturday night.
Santana, who left the Indians for a 3-year, $60 million contact over the winter -- a move that showed Philadelphia was serious in accelerating its rebuilding plans -- recorded his milestone with a three-run homer in the fourth inning of a 20-1 Phillies win before 33,660 in Citizens Bank Park.
"I'm really happy,'' Santana said. "I'm really happy about getting that hit for both myself and my team in a win like this.''
Santana, who turns 32 on Sunday, was key in a powerful lineup that made Cleveland a force to be reckoned with in the American League Central, bashing 57 home runs combined the past two seasons while also cutting down on his strikeout totals, pushing them below 100 in each of the past two years.
But he found an additional challenge after switching leagues this past winter. As have many before him, he had to learn a new set of pitchers. He's hitting .192 (5-for-26) after going 2-for-4 on Saturday.
"I did have to learn all new pitchers in the National League," he said. "It's not all that easy seeing a lot of them for the first time. I'll get used to them."
NL pitchers, like their AL counterparts before, wlll learn Santana pulls together a lineup like few others. And the fact he is becoming more selective at the plate will only make things tougher in the Senior Circuit.
"I'm really happy I'm here and able to help this team," Santana said. "I know I can really help these young guys we have in here.
"Cleveland is in the past. This is my job now."
Jed Weisberger is a contributor to MLB.com.