Santana returns after taking pitch to knee

Santana returns after taking pitch to knee

TORONTO -- Indians fans no longer have to hold their breath.

After being removed at the start of the eighth inning from Thursday night's 11-4 loss to the Yankees, rookie catcher Carlos Santana was back in the starting lineup for Friday's contest against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Santana, catching at the time, was hit directly in the left kneecap by a Joe Smith slider to Yankee outfielder Curtis Granderson in the seventh. Although Santana went immediately to the ground, he remained in the game for the rest of the inning, before being replaced by Chris Gimenez.

The 24-year-old Santana said the minor injury was a product of miscommunication between Smith and himself.

"I'm playing today, the knee feels pretty good," Santana said. "Last night, I thought I called a fastball and he threw a slider. But it feels better today."

Entering Friday, Santana was batting .265 with six home runs and 21 RBIs in the cleanup spot for the Indians.