Santana set to play in Minors games for Sox

May 1st, 2021

, a veteran player who belted 28 homers for the Rangers two years ago, will take a step closer to joining the Red Sox when he starts playing in Minor League games on Tuesday for High-A Greenville.

The Sox signed Santana in March to a Minor League deal that included an invitation to Spring Training.

However, Santana suffered a severe infection to his right foot shortly thereafter that required a procedure, a multi-day stay in the hospital and stitches, preventing any chance he had of making the team.

Santana also underwent extensive surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow last September.

While the Red Sox are enthused about what Santana can add to the team with his power bat and versatility on defense, they know they can’t rush his rehab.

“He needs at-bats. He needs a lot of at-bats. I can’t tell you how many games, but it’s more than two weeks [in the Minors],” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

With Franchy Cordero struggling mightily on offense, the eventual arrival of Santana could be significant for Boston.

In Santana’s career, he has started 199 games in the outfield, 104 at shortstop, 51 at first base, 16 at second base and 12 at third.

“He’s going to move around,” said Cora. “They have the schedule, and I think he starts playing the infield first, then they move to the outfield, obviously, because of the arm, too. He’s in a good spot. He’s a full-go. It’s just a matter of the progression to do it right so we don’t push him too hard.”

Marwin trying to catch up
While Marwin Gonzalez has done a solid job for the Red Sox at a variety of positions, his bat hasn’t quite caught up yet. For the second consecutive game, the switch-hitter (.186/.318/.271) was not in the starting lineup.

“With Marwin, he’s putting in work in the cage. He feels like he put himself in a bad position body-wise and he’s not able to get to the fastballs,” said Cora. “He’s been working on that the last two days. Hopefully tomorrow, when he goes out there, he’ll start catching up with that and from there he’ll take off.”

Kiké Hernández, who has been inconstant in the leadoff spot, was also out of the starting lineup for the second straight game.

Cora expects Gonzalez and Hernández to start Sunday’s finale in Texas.