Alomar notes Santana's progress behind plate

Alomar notes Santana's progress behind plate

Alomar notes Santana's progress behind plate
CLEVELAND -- Interim Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. has spent the past three seasons passing down his experience as an All-Star catcher to Carlos Santana. Cleveland's catcher still has plenty of room for improvement, but Alomar is pleased with his progress.

"The thing that improved the most this year was his throwing," Alomar said. "That's something that we worked hard on in Spring Training. Last year, he had a long release and long footwork. This year, he's much better with that.

"He just needs to stay more focused on his catching area. Other than that, he's making progress. Not super progress, but he's progressing. He has years of experience now -- four years of experience behind the plate."

This coming offseason, it is possible that the Indians will revisit the idea of shifting Santana to first base, which is a clear area of need. Given Santana's offensive potential, moving him to first base is a concept that has been debated -- mostly in the media -- while Cleveland has kept him behind the plate.

Asked if he felt Santana -- a converted infielder -- could stick at catcher long-term, Alomar deferred to the Indians' front office.

"That's not my call to say," Alomar said. "I'm not the general manager. I'm not in the front office here. ... I think that he's making a lot of progress behind the plate. Can he get better? Yes. I think he can get better than that. He needs to separate the offense a little bit from the defense.

"Carlos is still a young man. He's still maturing. Learning at the Major League level is not easy."

Alomar added that he feels Santana will continue to develop into a premiere offensive player. In the second half, the catcher has hit .287 with 13 home runs, 14 doubles, 46 RBIs and a .397 on-base percentage in 72 games for the Tribe. Santana is hitting .255 with 18 homers, 76 RBIs and a .368 OBP through 141 games this season.

"I think Carlos is so proud of his offense that he tried to prove to everybody his worth," Alomar said. "But I think he can give us more. I think he's much better offensively than what he's showing right now, even though his numbers are pretty decent. Carlos has huge potential with his bat."