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Carlos Santana Feeling Energetic in First Day With Pirates

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BRADENTON, Fla. – Carlos Santana made a good impression on the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday by reporting to spring training a day ahead of schedule.

“It’s good to have everybody here already,” manager Derek Shelton said.

Perhaps more importantly, the Pirates made a good impression on the veteran designated hitter/first baseman.

The 36-year-old Santana took a leap of faith when he signed with the Pirates, who have finished last in the National League Central for four straight seasons and went 62-100 last year. However, at least for a day, the 14-year veteran feels he stepped into a fun situation.

“I see the energy here and it is good,” Santana said. “I talked to a couple of the guys, and they’re excited. They have good energy. All good teams have good energy.”

Santana then smiled.

“And they picked good music, too,” he said.

While pitchers and catchers began their workouts Wednesday, the rest of the squad isn’t required to report to camp until Sunday. Santana, though, preferred to get started a tad early.

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“I wanted to get here and meet some of the guys,” Santana said. “It’s only one day but it was good. I saw some young pitchers with a lot of talent. It’s a good mix of young guys and veterans in this clubhouse. Like I said, I like the energy a lot I feel so far.”

First baseman Ji-Man Choi also worked out for the first time Saturday. The Pirates acquired Choi from the Tampa Bay Rays on Nov. 10 in a trade.

Choi’s tenure with the Pirates has not gotten off to the best start.

On Friday, Choi learned he had lost his salary arbitration hearing. That came a week after the Pirates would not grant him permission to play for his native South Korea in the World Baseball Classic next month after he had offseason elbow surgery.

On top of that, Choi’s translator remains in South Korea because of work visa issues.

 

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