Santana joins Braves, starts in left field

May 9th, 2017

HOUSTON -- Newly acquired Danny Santana said he didn't expect to be traded from Minnesota, is grateful for the opportunity with the Braves, and was surprised he was in the starting lineup on Tuesday night, playing left field and batting ninth vs. the Astros.

"It's a fresh, new opportunity," Santana, 26, said through an interpreter. "[Being traded] has never happened in my career. Three days, I haven't played, four days. It's good."

Santana was traded for Minor League left-hander  on Monday, along with cash considerations.

"He's gassed up and ready to go," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Might as well play him."

Where Santana, who had an outstanding rookie season in 2014 with the Twins, is going to play is the big question. Santana said he's most comfortable in center field, but he's played a lot at shortstop and in left field.

"I think the same role as I had in Minnesota," Santana said. "I'm playing left field today, I don't know what they're going to ask me to do."

Snitker likes the versatility the speedy Santana brings to the club.

"He can play the infield positions, all the outfield positions, run, switch-hit," Snitker said. "So he's a nice little piece to have. He hasn't played much over there, and I asked [catcher] Kurt [Suzuki] about him too. He played with him last year, and he had nothing but good things to say."

In 13 games with Minnesota, Santana was hitting .200 (5-for-25) with one home run and one RBI. He was a career .266 hitter with the Twins, and in 2014, batted .319 with seven home runs and 20 stolen bases.

"I still believe I have the ability to have those numbers and do those things, so I just have to take advantage of this opportunity and utilize the skill set that I have," said Santana, who has played parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues, signing with Minnesota as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic.

Over the past three seasons, Santana is batting .225 with a .568 OPS.