On Friday, Santana was out of the batting order for the second straight game due to tightness in his back and right side. Indians manager Manny Acta said that Santana will rejoin the lineup for Sunday's game against the Orioles, barring any setbacks.
"We're shooting for Sunday," Acta said prior to Friday's contest in Baltimore. "He feels a lot better today and tested very well with [head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff]. He still feels it a little bit, but we don't want him to take a step back."
Soloff said Santana's side injury is not technically classified as an oblique issue, noting that the switch-hitter has soreness throughout his lower back and sides. Soloff added that the issue could stem from swinging too hard and said Santana has reported no post-concussion symptoms since coming off the seven-day concussion disabled list on June 5.
Santana did not take part in any baseball activities on Thursday or Friday, but was slated to resume throwing and hitting on Saturday. The catcher was pulled from Wednesday's game in New York in the ninth inning after the back tightness flared up.
Acta indicated that Santana would likely serve as the designated hitter on Sunday.
Beyond the health woes, Santana has also been struggling with a persistent slump. Through the first six games of the current road trip, he was mired in a 1-for-16 funk. Dating back to May 18, Santana has hit just .151 (14-for-93) across 27 games for Cleveland.
"They just wanted to give me another day to rest," Santana said on Friday. "I feel much better. I think I'll be all right."