Indians rookie catcher hurt badly in home-plate collision

BOSTON -- Cleveland Indians rookie catcher Carlos Santana, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, was carted off the field here Monday after a seventh-inning collision at the plate with Red Sox rookie Ryan Kalish.

Kalish was attempting to score on a single to right field by a third rookie, pinch hitter Daniel Nava, when he slid full-bore into Santana’s left leg, which was planted to block the plate. The catcher applied the tag as he was knocked down by Kalish, but with his leg collapsing at a freakish angle, remained motionless on the ground.

An inflatable orange cast was placed around the leg, and after being assisted into a sitting position, Santana was helped to his feet and placed on a cart. He gave a small wave to the Red Sox dugout, where players were standing on the top step applauding, as the cart drove past.

Santana, who came to the Indians from the Dodgers in a 2008 trade-deadline deal for third baseman Casey Blake, was rated Cleveland’s No. 1 prospect entering this season by trade publication Baseball America. He was the MVP of the Eastern League last season, hitting 23 home runs for Akron while leading the league in slugging percentage (.530) and OPS (.943).

Promoted to Triple-A Columbus, Santana was batting .316 with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs in 57 games when he was promoted to the Indians on June 11. The switch-hitter came into Monday night’s game batting .265 in 45 games with Cleveland and his six home runs since his debut are tied with Jorge Posada for most by an AL catcher in that timeframe.

Santana wears No. 41 for the Indians, in tribute to his idol, former Cleveland catcher Victor Martinez, who is now with Boston and was among the onlookers Monday night. Martinez was on the top step of the dugout and said something to Santana as he was driven off.