Five minutes with Domingo Santana

Posted: April 19, 2011

Playing at: Lakewood (A)

Role: Rightfielder

MLB service: None

Height: 6-5 Weight: 200

Age: 18

Born: Aug. 5, 1992, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Bats: Right Throws: Right

How obtained: Signed as an amateur free agent, March 23, 2009.

This season: Has picked it up after a sluggish start . . . Went into last night's game with five hits in his last 11 at-bats and hit his first homer of the season Sunday . . . Hit .241 through Lakewood's first eight games.

Scouting report: Still extremely raw, but the skill set is there . . . Rated the ninth-best Phillies prospect by Baseball America . . . Has good size and a strong arm . . . He became the youngest player ever assigned to Lakewood when he suited up as a 17-year-old last season.

Most influential person: His father, Domingo, steered him toward a baseball career. "My mother didn't use to like it," Santana said, "until [I started to show] I was good at it." Dad was an outfielder and pitcher in the Houston organization.

Carrying the water: Domingo, when he was 11 years old, used to help his father deliver 5-gallon jugs of mountain water to houses around the Dominican Republic. Those containers, on average, weigh about 45 pounds each. "That taught me that life is hard and that you need a career to keep moving forward to take care of your family like my father did," he said.

And mom? He says of his mother, Aida Maria, "She was always there for me. After God, she is the greatest thing."

Bonus bucks: Signed for $330,000 in 2009 and immediately bought a house for his mother. He spent a little on himself last year when he bought a 2007 Chrysler. Santana turned down more money from the Yankees because they had planned to start him in the inferior Dominican Summer League rather the Gulf Coast League, where the Phillies assigned him.

Most disappointing athletic moment: Being demoted from Lakewood to Williamsport last year. "I was mad at myself for letting [the excitement] catch up to me," he said. Homered twice in his first game for Williamsport, but hit just .237 in 54 games.

Favorite athlete: Manny Ramirez. "To me, he's the greatest hitter of all," he said. "I don't like his laziness sometimes, but when he [was] at the plate, the pitchers were always scared of him."

Person in history he'd like to meet: Roberto Clemente.

Most memorable game: Hit a walkoff home run in the 14th inning to win a game last April. "That was my greatest game. It was here [Lakewood]. The place was packed," he said. And the pitch? "It was a changeup."

- Ed Barkowitz

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