DETROIT -- With all the building anticipation about Carlos Santana's impending arrival to the Major League level, it's easy to overlook that catcher Lou Marson is making some developmental strides in his first full big league season. Marson had an abysmal start to the season, both offensively and defensively. He was knocked by his own teammate, Chris Perez, for having trouble getting a glove on wild pitches in the season's first week, and he had an .088 average as late as April 27. But Marson has made some strides on both sides. Catching instructor Sandy Alomar Jr. worked with Marson on blocking balls and on his throwing, and Marson has thrown out 12 of the 34 runners who have tried to steal off him, the best percentage (35.3) in the American League. At the plate, he's hit .268 (22-for-82) over his past 25 games, raising his average from .088 to .216. He had a strong series in the Bronx over the weekend, including a three-double, three-RBI performance Saturday.
"I'm learning every day," said Marson, who turns 24 later this month. Manager Manny Acta said Marson has learned to be more aggressive at the plate. Marson has been noted for his plate discipline in the past, but the Indians felt he was perhaps becoming too disciplined, laying off borderline pitches that often got him behind in the count. "He was more defensive," Acta said. "He's been more aggressive [lately]." On Tuesday, the calendar flipped to June. The speculation about Santana's arrival will increase exponentially in the coming days, as 2010 service time will no longer be a factor in his arbitration eligibility. And fans are clamoring to get a look at the guy batting .315 with a 1.016 OPS at Triple-A Columbus. Of course, Santana has obvious areas to improve, too. For instance, he's thrown out just seven of 28 basestealers. Marson knows all about Santana, obviously. But he's trying to focus on his own career. "If he's ready, I don't see why they wouldn't want to bring him up," Marson said. "But I focus on what's going on here and winning some games." And with the improvements he's shown recently, Marson is doing his part a little more.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.