Santiago says he's no baby


SAN DIEGO -- Benito Santiago, the San Diego Padres' All-Star catcher, accused manager Greg Riddoch of treating him like a baby yesterday, one day after Riddoch yanked Santiago out of the lineup for "lack of hustle."

"Why do we have to start this [stuff] again?" Santiago said. "Every year, they try to make me look like a little baby. [Riddoch] knows I play 100 percent for him."

Riddoch pulled Santiago after the fourth inning Thursday, when Santiago slowed on his way to first after grounding to Houston Astros shortstop Eric Yelding. Yelding's throw was wild, and Santiago was safe. At the end of the inning, Santiago was replaced by backup Tom Lampkin.

Santiago said Riddoch never gave the catcher a reason for taking him out of the game. Yesterday, Riddoch said he intended to speak with Santiago before that night's game, but as of game time, the two had yet to talk.

"I didn't think I did nothing wrong," Santiago said. "I grounded the ball to shortstop; if the guy makes a good throw I was going to be out."

Santiago was kept out of last night's game as a disciplinary measure. Asked whether Santiago would miss any additional games, Riddoch said, "I don't know."

Santiago said he learned of Riddoch's plan to bench him by reading the newspapers.

"He should have talked to me [Thursday] night instead of [to the media]," Santiago said. "He should have talked to me first. Believe me, I've got no problems. I'm fine. I'm healthy.

"I think I don't deserve this. He made me look like a crying baby to the whole town here in San Diego. What do they think about me now? They think I'm a lazy. . . . "

Riddoch was in his office with the door closed before the game -- and after Santiago's comments -- and could not be approached for comment.

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