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Santiago gets rare opportunities at plate, field

Santiago gets rare opportunities at plate, field

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DETROIT -- Infielder Ramon Santiago, a switch-hitter, was only 1-for-12 against left-handed pitchers before Tigers manager Jim Leyland put him in the lineup against a lefty on Friday.

Santiago responded with a double and a walk, which led to the Tigers' 2-1 win over the Phillies.

"[Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon] said that pretty much all along that he was swinging the bat a little better from the right side," Leyland said. "Obviously when Omar is here, he is going to play because Omar is a right-handed hitter."

While his numbers haven't shown success, Santiago agrees with Leyland that he's improving as a right-handed hitter, which he hopes will make him a more versatile player.

"I really did better last year," Santiago said. "I played winter ball and right-handed I was raking in the Dominican. I don't play much against lefties here, but like the skipper says, me and [McClendon] have been working hard in the cage. It's been a hard year offensively, but at the same time, I keep my mind positive and will keep working."

Santiago also played third base on Friday, a position he's only played 16 times in the past two seasons over a span of 130 games.

"I had a couple hard hit balls over there," Santiago said. "I said, 'Man! Miggy is doing an unbelievable job catching all those balls.' It's not easy."

Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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