Red Sox’ Danny Santana ‘in a good place physically’ while recovering from foot infection, Alex Cora says

Danny Santana has recently returned to full baseball activities in Fort Myers, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Monday.

Santana, who signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last month, had been sidelined since the middle of March due to a right foot infection, which required a stay in the hospital.

“Danny started his whole baseball stuff like a week ago,” Cora said during his pregame media availability. “He’s down there in Fort Myers… He feels good. We’ve been texting a lot the last few days. He’s in a good place physically. Just going through his spring training. Hopefully, he can get some at-bats soon and see where he’s at.”

Prior to signing with Boston earlier this spring, Santana had spent the first seven years of his big-league career with the Twins, Braves, and Rangers.

Most recently with the Rangers, the 30-year-old utilityman mashed 28 home runs and collected 81 RBI while posting an .857 OPS in 2019, but struggled to the tune of a .511 OPS over 15 games last season.

Texas non-tendered and effectively made Santana a free-agent in December.

While he has proven to be inconsistent at times throughout his career, the Dominican native has also proven to be quite versatile, as he has major-league experience at every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

This aspect of his game, as well as the fact that he is a switch-hitter, likely made Santana appealing to the Sox. So much so that it appeared as though the 5-foot-11, 2013 pounder had the inside track on making Boston’s Opening Day roster prior to going down with that foot infection.

Now that Santana is working his way back to full strength, though, the Red Sox could consider a change in their roster construction sometime in the not so distant future.

Boston is currently carrying 14 pitchers and 12 position players on its 26-man major-league roster, but Cora seemed to leave the door open to carrying 13 pitchers and 13 position players somewhere down the line depending on how the starting rotation holds up.

“As of now, we feel comfortable with where we’re at having one extra arm, because it helps us” said the Sox skipper. “Having Garrett [Whitlock] and Matt [Andriese] that can give us multiple innings in high-leverage situations or close games is good for the staff. So we’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about it and see what we decide.”

(Picture of Danny Santana: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign former Rays minor-league right-hander Daniel Santana to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent right-hander Daniel Santana to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per MLB.com’s transaction wire.

Santana, who turns 23 next month, was originally signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as an international free-agent out of Venezuela in July 2016.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 193 pounds, Santana has never pitched above the rookie-league level.

In 35 appearances (18 starts) between the Dominican Summer League Rays and Gulf Coast League Rays from 2017-2019, the young righty posted a 3.64 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and a 65:42 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 108 2/3 total innings of work.

He was one of 25 Rays minor-leaguers to be released by the organization last May when clubs were dealing with the initial financial constraints that came as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There is not much information out there on Santana outside of this, but he is the second Daniel E. Santana the Red Sox have signed to a minor-league deal this month, as he joins the likes of the former Twins, Braves, and Rangers utilityman.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Cora provides update on Danny Santana (foot infection): ‘This is going to take a while’

On Monday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced that veteran utilityman Danny Santana had been hospitalized since Saturday due to a right foot infection.

On Tuesday, during his pregame Zoom session with reporters, Cora provided an update on Santana’s status.

“He’s still in the hospital,” Cora said of Santana earlier Tuesday morning. “He had the procedure yesterday. Everything went well. Actually, Danny texted me. He feels a lot better. He might take two or three more days for him to be there, and then after that the stitches. It’s going to take a while.”

Cora had hoped that Santana, who signed a minor-league deal with Boston earlier this month, would be able to return to the club sooner rather than later. That, however, now seems unlikely.

“It’s not sooner rather than later,” said the Sox skipper. “This is going to take a while. But, it is what it is. We just want him healthy and we’ll be patient with him.”

Before suffering this foot infection, the 30-year-old Santana seemed like somewhat of a dark horse candidate to crack the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster considering the fact that he is a switch-hitter and has major-league experience at every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

Now, it would appear that the Dominican native — formerly of the Twins, Braves, and Rangers — will have to work his way back from this setback. He will presumably remain in Fort Myers for the foreseeable future in order to rehab.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana hospitalized with right foot infection

Red Sox minor-leaguer Danny Santana has been hospitalized for the last two days after suffering an apparent right foot infection, manager Alex Cora announced Monday morning.

Santana, 30, originally signed a minor-league pact with Boston earlier this month and even got into one Grapefruit League game before being sent to the hospital.

“Danny had a foot infection,” Cora said earlier Monday. “He’s actually right now in the hospital. It got bad two days ago. Hopefully, they’re going to do something today with him him, drain him or something like that. I got to check with Brad [Pearson].

“But it’s going to take a while now for him to get going,” added Cora. “He’s been in the hospital for the last two days with IV and antibiotics. So let’s hope that this is controllable and he’s going to be back with us hopefully sooner rather than later.”

The Dominican native came off the bench as a designated hitter for Boston in this past Friday’s 8-2 victory over the Rays at JetBlue Park. He went 1-for-2 with a single in the fifth inning and was not bothered by his right foot at that time.

“He showed up two days ago and it looked pretty bad,” said Cora. “Right away we sent him to the hospital and they’re taking care of that. There had to be something there before when he played but he didn’t feel anything. He wasn’t in pain. You saw him move around. He moved well and then the next day he showed up with it.”

Prior to signing with the Sox, the switch-hitting Santana had spent the past two seasons with the Rangers. He had been non-tendered by Texas in December after appearing in just 15 games in 2020 on account of multiple stints on the injured list

In 2019, though, Santana enjoyed great success, as he slashed a robust .283/.324/.534 to go along with a career-best 28 home runs and 81 RBI over 130 games played en route to being named the Rangers’ Most Valuable Player.

The fact that the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder is less than two full years removed from that solid of a campaign surely made him an appealing, buy-low candidate for the Red Sox.

It also doesn’t hurt that over the course of his seven-year major-league career with Texas, Atlanta, and Minnesota, Santana has played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher, so he is versatile.

Taking those factors into consideration, it seemed like Santana had a legitimate shot at cracking Boston’s Opening Day roster since he provides more bench flexibility as a switch-hitter, but that now seems unlikely to happen.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, not only is Santana now dealing with a right foot infection, but he also came into camp behind in his throwing after undergoing an ulnar collateral ligament repair and augmentation procedure last September.

“We want him to be healthy,” Cora said of Santana. “Let’s take care of this thing and hopefully he can be with us sooner rather than later.”

(Picture of Danny Santana: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Talking 2021 predictions with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox beat writer Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.

Chris and I mainly discussed the 10 predictions he made for the 2021 Red Sox in his weekly notes column for MassLive last Friday. We also talked about the moves the Sox made this offseason, what Chaim Bloom could have in store for 2022 and beyond, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his busy spring training schedule to have a conversation with me. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here, and you can check out his work for MassLive by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of JetBlue Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Might recently-signed Danny Santana cost Christian Arroyo his spot on Red Sox’ roster?

Could the Red Sox signing utilityman Danny Santana to a minor-league contract on Thursday ultimately cost Christian Arroyo his spot on the club’s 40-man roster. One writer in particular — MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo — thinks that may be the case.

In his weekly notes column for MassLive, Cotillo made 10 predictions for the Sox’ 2021 season, and one of those predictions was that Santana makes the team out of spring training after winning the competition for the final bench spot.

“Though he’s a late entrant into the competition for Boston’s final bench spot, Santana is actually a better fit for the roster than the club’s other options,” Cotillo wrote Friday. “The other three competitors — Christian Arroyo, Michael Chavis and Yairo Muñoz — are all right-handed hitters, which limits Alex Cora to an extent.”

Cotillo notes that while the handedness of the hitters on the Red Sox’ bench would change on a game-to-game basis, “the fact that the backup catcher (Kevin Plawecki) is right-handed means a left-handed bat would be preferable.”

As currently constructed, Jonathan Arauz and Marwin Gonzalez are the only infielders on Boston’s 40-man roster who can hit from the left side of the plate, as both are switch-hitters.

Arauz, who is still just 22 years old, figures to begin the 2021 season at the Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester to continue his development, while Gonzalez, who inked a one-year, $3 million pact with Boston last month, figures to see most of his playing time come in left field as opposed to the infield.

Having said that, Cora and Co. are somewhat limited in what they can do in regards to bench flexibility. That is where Santana — a switch-hitter — comes into play.

In seven major-league seasons between the Twins, Braves, and Rangers, the 30-year-old out of the Dominican owns a lifetime .266/.304/.422 slash line against right-handed pitching and a lifetime .243/.287/.407 slash line against left-handed pitching going back to 2014. He has also seen playing time at every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

Arroyo, who unlike Chavis is out of minor-league options and unlike Munoz is on Boston’s 40-man roster, unsurprisingly owns a lifetime .213/.297/.381 slash line in 176 career plate appearances against righties dating back to 2017. He has seen playing time at just three different positions: second base, third base, and shortstop.

Taking those points into consideration, Santana — as noted by Cotillo — “makes more sense than the others,” including Arroyo.

Coming into the spring, Arroyo seemed like almost a lock to make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster considering the fact that he is out of minor-league options like Nick Pivetta is.

The 25-year-old former top prospect had a decent showing in limited action with the Sox last season, going 12-for-50 (.240) at the plate with three home runs, eight RBI, and four walks over 14 September contests (54 plate appearances).

If Boston were to roll with Santana over Arroyo out of the gate, though, that would likely mark the end of Arroyo’s run on the club’s 40-man roster.

In other words, you could see a transaction where the Red Sox purchase Santana’s contract — and in doing so add him to their major-league roster — while designating Arroyo for assignment to clear a roster spot.

The goal then, as Cotillo writes, would be for the Red Sox “to try to sneak Arroyo through waivers” while both Chavis and Munoz would be optioned down to the alternate site.

In this scenario, this would not be the first time the Sox designated Arroyo, as they did the very same thing just days after claiming the Florida native off waivers from the Indians last August.

For what it’s worth, Santana, who turns 31 in November, is only under club control through the end of the 2021 season. Arroyo, meanwhile, turns 26 in May and is under club control through the 2024 season.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Santana will earn a base salary of $1.75 million if he makes it to the majors with the Red Sox this year with the chance to earn an additional $1 million in incentives and another $100,000 in the form of a bonus if he starts at Triple-A.

Those contract details, per Cotillo, makes it “seem like the Red Sox have plans to bring him up to the majors.”

We will have to wait and see if those hypothetical plans come to fruition before Opening Day.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox add utilityman Danny Santana on minor-league deal, per report

The Red Sox have signed utilityman Danny Santana to a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training, according to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams.

Santana, 30, had worked out for teams in Miami this month and the Red Sox were obviously among the teams who were interested.

The Dominican native became a free-agent this winter after getting non-tendered by the Rangers — who he had spent the last two seasons with — in December.

In his time with Texas, Santana truly experienced the ups-and-downs of being a major-leaguer.

Across 130 games in 2019, he slashed .283/.324/.534 to go along with a career-best 28 home runs and 81 RBI over a career-high 511 plate appearances en route to being named the Rangers’ player of the year.

Following up that successful campaign, Santana fell back down to earth in 2020, as he appeared in just 15 games and posted a .511 OPS before going down with a season-ending right elbow sprain in late August.

Rather than pay Santana the $3.6 million he was projected to earn in his final year of salary arbitration, the Rangers cut the veteran switch-hitter loose over the winter.

Originally signed by the Twins as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Santana has proven capable of playing multiple defensive positions since making his big-league debut in 2014.

With the Rangers alone, the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder played 53 games at first base, 17 at second base, eight at third base, nine at shortstop, 17 in left field, 31 in center field, and 15 in right field.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Red Sox were ‘in the final mix’ for Santana’s services.

As Heyman notes, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom clearly values versatility given the fact he has brought in the likes of Santana, Enrique Hernandez, and Marwin Gonzalez this offseason.

Heyman also tweeted that Santana’s deal with Boston consists of $1.75 million in a base salary, $1 million in potential incentives, a $100,000 bonus if he starts the year in Triple-A, and an opt out if he is not promoted by a certain date.

With the addition of Santana, Boston will now have approximately 34 non-roster invitees at camp, which pushes the size of their major-league spring training roster to 74 players. The maximum number of players teams can carry this spring is 75.

That means that the club will have to clear at least one spot on their spring training roster when catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Franchy Cordero are ready to be activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)