Logjam aside, Crew likes Santana's oppo-power
Outfielder goes other way for homer in Cleveland
CLEVELAND -- In Ryan Braun, Khris Davis and Domingo Santana, the Brewers have three corner outfielders with strong cases for playing time, and only two corner outfielder spots. Club officials will worry about solving that problem later. For now, they want to see what Santana can do.
The youngest player on the Brewers' roster at 23 years old, Santana homered for the second time in four games in Tuesday's 11-6 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field. Unlike his smoking line drive to the left-field seats in Santana's Brewers debut on Friday, this was a towering solo homer the opposite way. That's his real power field, Santana said.
"It's kind of coming as advertised -- power to all parts of the park," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The ability to do that is a player you get excited about at Miller Park. Any time you see an opposite-field homer with any player, you get excited, because that's real power."
If Santana was as excited, he kept it to himself.
"I'm just happy because I'm here," Santana said.
"Domingo has earned his way here," Counsell said. "He's had such a great season in Triple-A, and he's ready for the big leagues. And now at this point in the season, it's time for him to start facing Major League pitching. I don't think we need to figure out [the logjam] right now. I think what's important is that he starts getting experience just facing big league pitching and being in big league games."
The Brewers acquired Santana and three other prospects from the Astros on July 30 for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, and summoned Santana to the Major Leagues on Friday. Including his time at Triple-A and the big leagues for both organizations, Santana has 21 home runs in 113 games. Most have gone to right field, he said.
Braun, who hit his team-best 23rd home run on Wednesday, is locked in as the Brewers' right fielder and will enter his five-year, $105 million contract extension next season. Davis, in his second full season, entered Tuesday as the National League leader with nine home runs and 22 RBIs in August, and possesses the sort of power that current general manager Doug Melvin believes is a critical part of a winning team at Miller Park.
Likewise, Santana possesses tremendous natural power. He also owns an above-average throwing arm that profiles for right field. That's where Santana started Tuesday while Braun handled designated hitter duties. Santana's first two Brewers starts came in center field.
"I think that's going to be the best way to get him the most at-bats, to move him around the outfield spots a little bit. I think it's good for him," Counsell said.