Tribe still reeling from Santana's head-first slide

Tribe still reeling from Santana's head-first slide

Tribe still reeling from Santana's head-first slide
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- By now, Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti has dislodged his heart from his throat. And Indians manager Manny Acta has resumed normal breathing.

After all, it has been two days since Carlos Santana, the 24-year-old future catching star, ended a stop-and-start 270-foot tour of the bases with a head-first slide into a home plate barricaded by Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas.

"That," Antonetti said, "was not the highlight of Spring Training. Thankfully he got through it OK, and hopefully it will be a learning lesson for him."

Just to make sure of that, the Indians staff apparently has sermonized to Santana about the evils of heading home. But not the expense of doing so.

"I've been in organizations where you get flat-out fined for sliding head-first," Acta said.

With the Indians, the price of the hazardous maneuver still is only exacted with words.

"I think a number of people have talked to Carlos about it," Antonetti said. "We're constantly lecturing guys in the Minor Leagues about the dangers of sliding head-first, but it's a challenge [to get them to change]. Unfortunately, what usually breaks that habit is a separated shoulder."

Santana's adventure had begun when he was on first base as Travis Hafner slapped a single to left field. When Los Angeles left fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. muffed the ball, Santana continued to third and tried to beat the relay throw home. But his slide ended at Barajas' left foot, which had the plate blocked.

"It's instinctive. It's real hard to get guys to stop it," Acta said. "I tried to scare Carlos out of it. I asked him, 'How'd you like to spend an entire year here rehabilitating?'"