Santana excels with everything thrown at him

Santana excels with everything thrown at him

PHILADELPHIA -- Aside from a blister that popped open on the index finger on his right hand Tuesday night, little has slowed Carlos Santana in his first two weeks in the big leagues.

Santana suffered that minor injury while swinging the bat earlier in the game, but that's far from the only damage his bat has done thus far. The switch-hitting sensation entered Wednesday batting .355 (11-for-31) with five runs scored, five doubles, two homers and eight RBIs, reaching base safely in each of his first 10 games.

What's impressed manager Manny Acta the most about Santana, offensively, is the way he's held his own at this level, even against some unconventional arms. Already, Santana has faced the 100-mph fastball of Stephen Strasburg, the knuckleball of R.A. Dickey, and the soft-tossing finesse of Jamie Moyer -- and he's managed to put up quality at-bats along the way. In the No. 3 spot of the order, no less.

"He's a natural hitter and a good hitter," Acta said. "He's impressive. He's seeing these guys for the first time, and with the type of at-bats he's had, he can be a very interesting subject in [opponents'] scouting reports, regardless of our record."

Defensively, Acta said Santana will remain a work in progress for some time. He's done extra work with catching coordinator Sandy Alomar Jr., and is essentially trying to program himself to have a quicker release when trying to throw out opposing runners.

"Sandy's going to be invaluable to him," Acta said.