It would be one thing if Carlos Santana were hitting as well as Indians manager Manny Acta expected. But with Santana still struggling at the plate, Travis Hafner's absence because of a strained oblique has created a major hole in the lineup. ''Hafner is an intimidating figure in the lineup, even when he's not hitting,'' Acta said Saturday. ''He and Santana also draw walks, so that we're not giving up extra outs.'' Santana's skid had made him a liability in the cleanup spot. Hafner would be the logical hitter to move up one notch from fifth. Instead, Acta must come up with other alternatives. ''You just have to adjust,'' Acta said. ''Teams have injuries. The Twins have had to play without Joe Mauer. Everybody goes through that.'' Friday night, Shelley Duncan batted fourth against the Tampa Bay Rays; Saturday it was Travis Buck. And furthermore Even though Acta has moved Santana out of the cleanup spot, he's not sure how much it will help him snap out of his slump (but it might help the offense). ''It doesn't matter where he hits in the lineup, he's going to be pitched the same way,'' Acta said. ''Just because [Evan] Longoria is leading off today doesn't mean we're going to throw him fastballs down the middle. ''The way you are pitched is because of who you are, not where you hit in the batting order. And I'm not sure it will help Carlos that much [to move down], because he won't be protected the same way.'' Home dome advantage The Rays have won nine of the last 11 against the Tribe at Tropicana Field, but Acta doesn't think it has to do with playing indoors or on artificial turf. ''They've played well against us here,'' he said. ''Some clubs play better against certain clubs. We have those clubs, too.
Loss of Hafner, struggling Santana creates big hole
Akron Beacon Journal | May 29