The Angels played the
"Are we raking today?" Santiago asked the Angels' coaches. "Let's go. Where's my bat?"
When he found out second baseman
He did not win the argument.
Santiago, the Angels' 28-year-old left-hander, adores hitting. He believes in it as a form of exercise, a core workout, and as a means of focusing. When he's hitting, he's only thinking about hitting.
"I hit all the time. I love it," Santiago said. "I can't wait to put up a cage in my house and put a machine in there. I'll be hitting all day, especially one of those automatic feeders where I don't have to worry about it. I'll just be out there all night. Honestly, if I had a cage in my house right now, I would've hit for three hours."
In 13 career major league at-bats, Santiago has two hits. During his second career at-bat, in May 2013 against the New York Mets'
During the off-season, he installed a tee and net in the backyard of his home in nearby Goodyear, Ariz. On most nights before he has pitched this spring, he's taken around 100 cuts to let out excess energy.
In Sunday's start against San Diego, his sixth of spring training, Santiago finished five innings, striking out five without issuing a walk. He permitted two home runs, both solo, keeping his Cactus League earned-run average at 3.52.
"That's the one thing I notice, the one thing I take away from this game," Santiago said of the walks. "Home runs, they're going to happen."
Walks were part of his undoing in the second half of 2015, when he followed up an All-Star first half with a 5.47 ERA. He walked 34 men in 108 1/3 first-half innings, and 37 in 72 1/3 innings after the All-Star break.
Santiago figures to begin 2016 as the Angels' No. 3 starter, meaning his debut would come April 7 against Texas. He is expected to start Friday's Freeway Series game at Dodger Stadium, and then get an extra day of rest before the regular season.
The team has not yet told him those plans, but he does not mind.
"I just don't want to go into this season with too many days off," Santiago said.