Amid team's struggles, Santana delivering with bat

Amid team's struggles, Santana delivering with bat

Amid team's struggles, Santana delivering with bat
CLEVELAND -- It has been an all-around struggle for the Indians during their 10-game losing streak. The pitching staff has allowed numerous crooked numbers, and the offense hasn't offered much in the way of production.

But one of the few bright spots in a rough stretch for the Tribe has been catcher Carlos Santana's improvement at the plate. Santana had a rough first half of the season after signing a five-year, $21 million extension in April. He had only five home runs and 30 RBIs in the first 74 games this year after hitting 27 homers a season ago.

In the last three weeks, though, Santana has gotten hot. Entering Tuesday's game against the Twins, the switch-hitter was hitting .302 with six doubles, seven home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 19 games. Santana has also walked 13 times during the stretch while striking out only 10 times.

"I feel more comfortable," Santana said. "I know I didn't have a good first half, but I think I've come in more comfortable and more focused in the second half.

"Early in the season, I had problems with swinging too hard and trying too much. Right now, I'm taking it easier and trying to just make contact with the ball."

Indians manager Manny Acta said the coaching staff has continued to work with Santana on limiting his body movement at the plate, and Acta has seen some progress. Santana entered Tuesday hitting .237 with 12 homers, 49 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .364 on the season.

"He's been having better at-bats, walking more, seeing the ball better," Acta said. "We all know when he's in that type of groove, the power numbers will be there from both sides of the plate."