Santana races for winning run on sore ankle

Infielder was hit by pitch Saturday, also hit pinch-hit homer in 8th; plus notes on Andrus, Calhoun, Kelley

May 20th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he wasn’t expecting utility player to be available for Sunday's series finale against the Cardinals. Woodward’s biggest concern before the game seemed to be if Santana would need to go on the injured list with a bruised right knee.

That doesn’t appear to be the case. Santana hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning and then scored the winning run in the 10th on Nomar Mazara’s sacrifice fly to give the Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals.

Santana’s heroics came one day after leaving a game in the ninth inning after getting hit by a fastball in the ankle by Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez. Santana had to be helped off the field by Woodward and trainer Matt Lucero. Woodward expected Santana to be on crutches Sunday.

“He ran before the game and he said he was 100 percent,” Woodward said. “I don’t know what to make of that. I was pretty happy to hear that, and it showed at the end there. Got a chance to use him in the game and the kid is pretty special. To take 97 in the ankle off the bone and come in to hit a pinch-hit home run the next day is huge. Says a lot about who he is. Pretty amazing.”

Santana came into the clubhouse Sunday morning before every player but Shin-Soo Choo so he could see how the ankle responded to treatment.

“Forty minutes before game time, I told the trainers to tape my ankle and I was going to run and see how I feel,” Santana said. “And I felt good.”

The home run was huge, but so was being able to run the bases in the 10th. With the Rangers trailing, 4-3, Santana followed Rougned Odor’s leadoff single with a walk before Willie Calhoun lined a single to right to tie the game. Santana raced to third on the play. He was able to score on Mazara’s fly ball to left-center field -- even though the ball wasn’t hit that deep, Santana crossed home standing up ahead of center fielder Harrison Bader’s throw.

“When I ran on the single from Willie from first to third, I felt good,” Santana said. “That meant I was going to be able to make it.”

Andrus back on Hooton board

Andrus is getting ready for another term as a member of the Taylor Hooton Foundation Advisory Board. The foundation has representatives from all 30 teams on the advisory board, and Andrus has been the Rangers' guy for the past several years.

“It’s big,” Andrus said. “Right now in baseball and in any sport, information and knowledge is important, and we want [kids] to know they can accomplish anything in life without cheating or illegal substances. That’s the message we are trying to send. Kids know what the right thing is, but they don’t always have the exact information.

“It is important for me to talk to them about myself and everything I have been through. As a player and a professional, you always have a choice, and I learned to do it the right way. I’m still here in the big leagues performing at a high level without putting anything in my body.”

Forsythe has also been on the board with other teams, and he wants to continue his work with the foundation.

Rangers beat

• Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley threw 15 pitches of live batting practice on Sunday morning. Kelley is on the injured list and had two lumps removed from his throat on Thursday, but he could be activated in the next day or two.

• Calhoun was out of the starting lineup on Sunday after going 9-for-20 (.450) in his first four games since being called up from Triple-A Nashville. Woodward is trying to rotate five players -- Calhoun, Joey Gallo, Mazara, Hunter Pence and Choo -- between the three outfield spots and designated hitter.

“I don’t think any one of them is going to be an everyday player,” Woodward said.

But Calhoun came off the bench to line the game-tying pinch-hit single in the 10th inning, before Mazara's walk-off sac fly.

• Adrian Sampson’s next outing is scheduled for Wednesday against the Cardinals. Woodward said the Rangers are undecided if Sampson will start or if the club will use an “opener” in front of him. Texas did so on Friday with Jose Leclerc, but Woodward can’t commit until he sees who is needed out of the bullpen in the next three games.