Santana returns strong after DL stint

Santana returns strong after DL stint

PHILADELPHIA -- The Brewers activated right fielder Domingo Santana on Friday following a minimum 15-day stint on the disabled list for a sore right shoulder, and Santana wasted no time in announcing his return.

His pinpoint throw home denied Phillies speedster Odubel Herrera a run in the first inning and offered the Brewers a clear indication that Santana's shoulder was in fine physical shape. Santana later hit a double and scored a run, finishing 1-for-4 in Milwaukee's 6-3 loss at Citizens Bank Park.

"He made a really nice throw," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He charged it aggressively; I loved how he charged it. And he made a smooth, accurate, strong throw."

To clear a spot for Santana on the active roster, the Brewers optioned outfielder Keon Broxton back to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Santana returned to the starting lineup, batting eighth, having being supplanted in the leadoff spot by hot-hitting shortstop Jonathan Villar.

"I had a pretty good idea, once I left Milwaukee, that I was 100 percent," said Santana, referring to his departure earlier this week for a three-game rehab assignment with Double-A Biloxi.

Santana went 2-for-6 with a home run, four walks and a stolen base, and he experienced no setbacks in his shoulder. Hitting was unproblematic all along, but for several weeks, Santana had experienced discomfort making long throws.

Broxton was the Brewers' choice to vacate a roster spot in part because he could be optioned, unlike Ramon Flores and Alex Presley. Broxton's second stint with the Brewers was much better than his first, featuring his first three Major League hits.

"Let's make sure Keon is playing and getting at-bats," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "With Domingo back, we didn't see a lot of consistent at-bats. I think [Broxton] is best served by getting at-bats right now.

"He doesn't have a full season at Triple-A. I know he's a little older, but he has [485] plate appearances at Triple-A. Those at-bats, I think, are still pretty important for him."

Last call
• After pitching two innings Thursday night for advanced Class A Advanced Brevard County, right-hander Corey Knebel was on the move Friday to New Orleans, where he will join Colorado Springs for at least two outings. The best-case scenario, Counsell said, has Knebel rejoining the Major League bullpen late next week.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.