Santos Always Focusing On Improvement

Santos is a defensive specialist behind the plate

Omir Santos has risen through the Yankees' farm system while acting as the second half of the battery for pitching prospects like Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, Jeff Karstens and Chase Wright. Thanks to his devotion and hard work on the defensive aspects of his game, Santos has earned the reputation of being one of the best fielding catchers in the Yankees' system.

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"I'm comfortable with all of those guys: Hughes, Clippard, Karstens, Wright. I've been catching them for years," said Scranton\Wilkes-Barre catcher Omir Santos. "I know how each one sets up, what they like to throw in certain situations, and how to help out them in tough spots."

Santos was selected by the Yankees in the 21st round of the 2001 amateur draft. Since being drafted, he has been teammates with the aforementioned pitchers for multiple seasons. Santos has even earned the reputation of being tabbed as Phil Hughes' personal catcher.

"Every one of those guys is really different, and I know what those guys like to throw by heart. I am so used to catching them," added the Scranton catcher.

Santos has earned the right to work with these high profile minor league pitchers thanks to his flawless game calling and strong defensive ability behind the plate. He credits hard work as the source of his impressive defensive talents.

"I just care a lot about my defense and I work hard at it every day, all the time. Every day I put a lot of work into improving: making sure my throws are accurate and strong, and that I am blocking the plate right," said Santos.

Practicing before games and during Spring Training is not enough for him though. Santos manages to work on his defense all winter long as well.

"I work a lot during the winter on my defense with my brother, who is a catcher and coach in Puerto Rico," he revealed. "We go out and make throws to the bases and he drills me and helps me try to keep my defense sharp all year."

His defense has certainly been sharp this year, but Santos' offensive numbers have been lacking. In 33 games this season, Santos is only hitting .245 with two home runs.

"I'm trying to be more patient at the plate this year and it's slowly starting to pay off," said the 26-year old backstop. "I still need a lot more work on my hitting, but I am starting to feel more comfortable. That means that the hitting will get easier for me soon."

Despite his weak offensive statistics, a catcher with Santos' talent is very important to the success of the pitching staff.

"The catcher's defense is really important because you have to be there the whole nine innings for a pitcher and help him through the game. You have to think about what throw is the right one and being in the right place at the right time."

"Every time I go out there I focus on calling a good game and helping the pitcher find a good pace to be in," Santos added.

Thanks to his experience with the team's minor league pitching prospects and sound defensive ability, Santos could find himself in New York sooner than he thought.

"I don't like to worry about promotions that much; I just want to focus on my game. Whatever happens, it happens, I will just go out and work hard either way."

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