In the ninth inning of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Yankees, Santana was pulled from the game in favor of pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall. Indians manager Manny Acta made it clear that the decision had nothing to do with Santana's recent struggles.
"Carlos has some mid-back tightness," Acta said. "We had to pinch-hit for him."
Santana said the back tightness is related to the right rib cage soreness that has bothered him for the past couple of days. The catcher, who served as the designated hitter in the finale of the three-game series in New York, will be re-evaluated prior to Thursday's night game in Baltimore.
"I'll be OK," Santana said. "I felt it in my last at-bat. That's when I didn't feel 100 percent."
In the defeat in the Bronx, Santana went 0-for-3 with one strikeout and a flyout in his final at-bat in the sixth inning. Through six games on the current road trip, the catcher has gone just 1-for-13 at the plate. Over his past 27 games, dating back to May 18, Santana has hit just .151 (14-for-93) for the Indians.
On Wednesday, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti indicated that Santana is not experiencing any lingering symptoms from the mild concussion that kept the catcher on the disabled list from May 26-June 5. Acta said that Santana's struggles are related to his timing, adding that the club is working hard with the catcher on reducing the excess body movement in his swing.
It is possible that Santana will receive a precautionary day off on Thursday, considering the Orioles will feature left-hander starter Wei-Yin Chen (7-3, 3.38). Santana has hit just .200 (14-for-70) against southpaws this season.