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Santana feeling more comfortable at the plate

ARLINGTON -- Carlos Santana is not only feeling better physically, the Indians third baseman and backup catcher is happy with how he has felt in the batter's box since coming off the seven-day concussion list.

Maybe the time off helped Santana put his early-season slump behind him.

"Maybe, maybe not," said Santana, who then smirked. "But I don't recommend any player have a concussion."

On Friday and Saturday -- Santana's first two games back in the lineup -- he reached base in six of eight plate appearances, collecting three hits and drawing three walks. In Saturday's 8-3 win against the Rangers, Santana launched a two-run home run in the seventh inning to help Cleveland pull away for the win.

Through 52 games this season, Santana has hit only .171, but the Indians have worked with him on focusing on more than just batting average.

"All the time," manager Terry Francona said. "That's a hard thing to do, because nobody wants to look up there and see that. It beats you up a little bit. I think maybe the week away sometimes can help that a little bit, calm you down and almost give you another start. Even though the numbers are the same, it gives you a chance to recharge."

Entering Sunday's game, Santana had a .308/.514/.615 slash line in his past eight games and had an .812 OPS (.412 on-base percentage and .400 slugging percentage) in his past 85 plate appearances, dating back to when he snapped out of an 0-for-21 slump on May 8.

"That's why I really wasn't in a rush to lower him in the order," said Francona, referring to Santana's on-base production. "He was taking his walks and you still have to pitch to him. You can penalize a guy for batting average or you can realize that a guy got off to a slow start and actually look at what he's doing, and that's probably more of what he is."

Santana is hoping his recent success translates into a strong turnaround.

"I've had a slow start, but it's a long season," Santana said. "For me, every day is a new start. It's one day at a time. I don't know the future. I only think day to day, game to game, AB to AB. Everything, every situation, where I can, I try to be the best."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.
Read More: Cleveland Indians, Carlos Santana