"I think probably the off time took a little pressure off him," Van Burkleo said Sunday. "He was able to kind of relax and work on his swing. His work has been great. He's basically been trying to be a little quieter [with his swing] all year. It's just a matter of taking it from the cage to the game. He's getting closer."
Entering Sunday's game against the Red Sox, the switch-hitting Santana had posted a .300 average with two home runs, six walks and eight RBIs in the nine games since he was activated from Major League Baseball's concussion list. Across his past 13 games, Santana had posted a .310/.482/.595 slash line with three homers, three doubles, 12 walks and 12 RBIs, entering Sunday.
Santana headed into Sunday's action with a .180 average on the season, but Van Burkleo has tried to help the corner infielder focus on the recent success.
"All year I've been reminding him of that. Today starts today," Van Burkelo said. "It's important to stay in the present. That can be a hard thing when you're struggling and your numbers aren't where you feel they should be. You start trying to get five hits in one at-bat.
"I think he's gone through that and I think it reaches a point where you just say, 'Uncle,' and just play. It's nice to see him get some hits and get his confidence going. I think that's a big thing. Once you get a little confidence going, you're able to relax."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.