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Carlos Santana reminds Dodgers of what might have been

March 19, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Indians catcher Carlos Santana prepares for a spring training workout last month in Goodyear, Ariz.
Indians catcher Carlos Santana prepares for a spring training workout… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

Ah, that wasn’t nice. Those nasty ol' Cleveland Indians. Rubbing it the Dodgers’ sad little faces and everything.

It might not exactly rank up there with Fred Claire’s trade of Pedro Martinez, but if there was one deal General Manager Ned Colletti probably would like to have back, it was when he sent catching prospect Carlos Santana to the Indians for third baseman Casey Bake in the summer of 2008.

It wasn’t like Blake did not contribute to the Dodgers making the playoffs for consecutive seasons. He was a very nice player and great in the clubhouse. A very solid addition.

It’s just that Santana has already blossomed into one of the best catchers in baseball and he’s all of 25. Meanwhile, with Russell Martin flaming out in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are now working on their third starting catcher in three years.

Just in case anyone wasn’t real sure what the Dodgers had given up in the deal for Blake, Santana gave them a little demonstration Monday when he absolutely crushed a home run off closer Javy Guerra in the Indians’ 4-3 victory in Goodyear, Ariz.

Last year, in his first full season in the majors, Santana hit 27 home runs, though he had a .239 average.

The Dodgers started their birthday boy, Clayton Kershaw, now an old man of 24, on Monday.

Kershaw went 5 1/3 innings, giving up his first run of the season on three hits and pair of walks. He struck out five. And unlike on his 21st birthday, when he said he hit a home run, he had to settle for a pair of sacrifice bunts.

“I had to bunt, dadgummit,” Kershaw told reporters. “It’s OK, though. At least I got the bunts down.”

By giving up a first-inning run on a Jose Lopez single, Kershaw’s spring earned-run average swelled to 0.73. Not bad for an aging left-hander.

“I’m still the young guy on the staff, experience-wise,” Kershaw said. “I still feel young, which is good.”

Kenley Jansen added a scoreless inning of relief, with two strikeouts.

The Dodgers were held scoreless until the eighth when ex-Dodger shortstop Chin-lung Hu bobbled a grounder from Luis Cruz for an error, Matt Kemp singled and Cruz scored when Cory Sullivan hit into a double play.

A Dodgers rally fell a run short in the ninth, after back-to-back doubles by Josh Bard and Justin Sellers scored one run, and then Sellers scored on an infield hit by Jerry Sands.

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Carlos Santana reminds Dodgers of what might have been

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