Notes: Colon optimistic for Santana
Veteran righty believes demotion could fuel youngster's fire
ST. PETERSBURG -- Bartolo Colon had a message for Ervin Santana that he didn't have time to deliver before the 24-year-old took off for Triple-A Salt Lake: Don't give up. Use the demotion as motivation to fuel your comeback.
And the 11-year veteran Colon knows what he's talking about. Five years ago while with Cleveland, the righty was sent down not once, but four times. How did he handle it?
A 2005 Cy Young Award, that's how.
"You don't want to see one of your teammates go through what [Santana] is going through with his record and the confidence side," said Colon, who learned of Santana's departure as he dressed for Wednesday's game. "But overall, this is something he can really use to fire himself up. It doesn't matter how hard you work in the winter. ... This is an opportunity to get the mental side straightened out."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia agreed. Time spent where the pressure isn't as intense may do wonders for Santana's game. The Halos just want Santana to return to the point where he can make the pitches he used to, and on a consistent basis.
"At times, he felt like maybe he wasn't able to execute the pitches that he needed to get out of situations or stay out of trouble," Scioscia said. "And when you don't have the tools out there, then it becomes tough to compete."
Power outage: The Angels saw their homerless drought continue through Wednesday night's game. The stretch now spans 11 games (105 innings), their longest without a long ball since July 7-21, 1991. The only longer streak was 18 games, in 1976.
And yet, Scioscia said, there's something more pressing on his mind.
"If we're concerned about one part right now, it's the ability of us to get on base and pressure other clubs than it's going to be home runs," he said. "This streak we're talking about has been more of a byproduct of not getting on base and being able to get into our game than it has been hitting home runs.
"I think I'm more concerned with other aspects than us not driving the ball over the last two weeks."
They've got luck on their side as soon as Mike Napoli finds his way back into the lineup, though. The catcher was the last to go deep, July 1 in the eighth inning against Baltimore.
Line 'em up: Vladimir Guerrero was the designated hitter Thursday to give him a little time to rest his legs from the turf as he prepares for three games at the Metrodome starting Friday. Catcher Jose Molina also received a break on Thursday, and Scioscia said he'd be back behind the plate for the first two games at Minnesota.
Orlando Cabrera was off as well, for as much a mental rest as a physical one. The Angels' shortstop is hitting .125 in July (6-for-48), a definite change in temperature from the .385 (42-for-109) he batted in June.
"He plays every day," Scioscia said. "Sometimes it's good to sit back ... and let a little air out.
"On the offensive side, he maybe isn't as comfortable swinging."
Other-worldly: A few reports trickled in from the Angels' clubhouse of unusual happenings at the team's hotel, the Renaissance Vinoy, which is notorious for its alleged ghost presence. One of the members of the coaching staff said a light in their room went on by itself on Wednesday night, while a team official reported their magazine having opened by itself sometime during the wee hours of the morning.
Scott Williamson reported one of the more popular baseball stories from the hotel. Four years ago, the then-Reds pitcher claimed he'd gotten into bed and turned off the lights, then felt someone pressing on his chest. He turned on the light, only to find an empty room.
Some time ago, Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley alleged he was in a room adjoining his own when he witnessed the toilet flush in his room several times.
In 2003, the hotel's history creeped out the visiting Pirates so much that several of them checked out late at night and found rooms elsewhere.
Up next: The Angels hit the road bound for Minnesota and more domed baseball on Monday. They'll send righty John Lackey (12-5, 2.98 ERA) to the mound, where he'll face off against Twins right-hander Carlos Silva (7-10, 4.55). First pitch is set for 5:10 p.m. PT.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.