05/15/2013 1:38 PM ET
Santana developing into all-around catcher
By Michael Radano / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Each day Indians manager Terry Francona takes a moment to learn a little Spanish. The truth is there is a much bigger purpose behind his conversations with Carlos Santana.
"I love him," Francona said of his daily interaction with the 27-year-old catcher. "He helps me every day with a little Spanish. It's just a way to get to know a guy. He cracks me up with the things he says."
Santana stands out offensively, which Francona is quick to point out is a bonus with a catcher. First and foremost, a catcher must run a pitching staff and be a solid defender. Santana has grown into that role, but it's tough not to notice that he's become an all-around catcher.
Santana entered Wednesday's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies hitting a robust .325 with seven home runs. His .438 on-base percentage is a tribute to his patience at the plate despite a big swing and in 136 plate appearances he's struck out just 26 times and walked 22.
"I think [defense and handling a staff] is the most important things about being a catcher," Francona said. "The offense is something everyone sees. That's a big bonus when you have a catcher that can do what he does offensively.
"He switch hits, he hits for power, he takes walks. He is as a young catcher learning the responsibility of the importance of running a staff. To his credit, he is learning and he's trying to learn. Sometimes it's a step forward and one back, but he's trying really hard and we appreciate that."
Santana is also a great clubhouse presence and rarely gets angry, with one noted exception.
"The only way to [make him angry] is to tell him he's not playing," Francona said. "And I love that."
Reynolds OK after getting a 'stinger' on Wednesday
PHILADELPHIA -- The Indians had a scare in the fifth on Wednesday when Mark Reynolds got, in the words of Indians manager Terry Francona, a "stinger" during an at-bat against Phillies starter Cole Hamels. Reynolds then left the game more for a defensive switch at first base than any health issue.
"He just needed to get the feeling back," Francona said. "We [took him out because we] wanted to get [Nick Swisher] out of right. [Reynolds] is okay."
Reynolds is hitting .271 this year and had a key double in the third that scored a pair of runs that put the Indians up 2-0. Reynolds importance has been increased after the Indians sent optioned third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to Triple-A on Monday.
"Just kind of hyperextended it a bit," Reynolds said. "I had to get feeling back because it's tough to hit with a numb arm. Maybe it will shorten my swing a bit."
Indians to take advantage of Thursday's day off
PHILADELPHIA -- On Wednesday, the Indians completed a stretch of their schedule in which they played 14 games in 13 days that included a doubleheader on Monday against the Yankees in Cleveland. They went an impressive 10-4 in that span.
After a day off on Thursday, the Indians begin a stretch of 20 games without a day off mixed in.
"They deserve a break," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "They have an optional workout tomorrow. If they show up, they'll be optioned out."
• When Francona was hired this past off-season the first thing he had to do was create a coaching staff. That included the potential for two hitting coaches, something some teams including the Phillies are experimenting with this season.
That said, Ty Van Burkleo has rendered that point moot.
"We talked about two hitting coaches because we looked into everything," Francona said. "But Ty takes it so personal, lives and dies with their at bats and I love that. I never see him because he's in the cage, and I like the guy but I love that intensity."
• The Indians went against Phillies starter Cole Hamels and his 1-5 record with a 4.18 ERA. Francona knew better than to focus on numbers just six games into the season.
"Numbers for a pitcher after 5 or 6 starts, you look at some ERAs, I mean look at [Scott] Kazmir's [5.33] ERA, and we think he's pretty good."
• Both Vinnie Pestano and Blake Wood worked a clean inning for Single-A Lake County on Wednesday morning. Pestano was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 1 with right elbow tendinitis. Wood is on the 60-day DL after he had right elbow surgery on March 11. Both had a strikeout against three hitters faced.
Michael Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.