But today was not one of those times.
Beginning the game 3-for-10 in spring training, he went 3-for-3 with a walk in the team’s 7-5 win over Detroit that improved the O’s record to 5-3-2. Batting ninth as the DH, the switch-hitter doubled off lefty starter Matthew Boyd in the third. In the next inning he hit a game-tying three-run homer off a righty that went opposite field to left, and he added another double batting left-handed in the seventh.
He’s now batting .462 (6-for-13) with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs in seven Grapefruit League games.
The 24-year-old Santander was a Rule 5 pick from Cleveland in December 2016 and it took parts of two seasons to satisfy his Rule 5 status. Last year he hit .198 in 33 games in the majors and .248 in 72 games on the farm between three clubs.
“I think I came to this camp ready to play, ready to compete,” he said through team translator Ramón Alarcón. “My legs feel good, I feel healthy physically. My arm is ready to throw. I think I came into camp in really good shape and ready to contribute.
“Thankful for the opportunity to be here with the new staff. They are providing us with a lot of confidence and letting us play aggressive baseball. And just glad that I’m helping the team so far.”
Santander, ranked as the Orioles’ No. 9 prospect at the end of the 2016 season and No. 8 a year later, has been making some tweaks to his offense in recent days.
“We’ve been working on a couple of things on my swing. We’ve been working really hard the past few days on it. And this game is about adjustments,” he said. “Every adjustment you can make can put you in a better position to succeed.”
The Orioles were down 4-1 when Santander connected to left for his first spring homer off right-hander Victor Alcantara in the fourth. Batting in the eighth he showed some patience to draw a walk and not get swing-happy trying for a 4-for-4 afternoon.
“I think being with a new staff and as they get to know us, they allow us to play. There is feedback on new things. Just give a try and see how it works. Every day I am working really hard to improve,” Santander added.
The Orioles were down 4-0 in the third and 5-4 in the fifth, but scored the game’s final three runs to win. They broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth on Drew Jackson’s bases-loaded sac fly and T.J. Nichting’s RBI single. On Monday the Orioles play the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers and Dylan Bundy will make his second spring start.