CLE@SEA: Giambi drills a solo shot to right-center

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona has raved about veteran Jason Giambi since the early days of Spring Training. On Friday, Cleveland was finally able to activate the slugger from the 15-day disabled list following a bout with a minor back issue.

"I said it right away in spring. He wasn't a veteran; he's the veteran," Francona said. "He's done nothing but enhance our feelings for him. If you're around him, it just happens. It's not just what he says -- it's how he says it. He can be very endearing. He cares.

"He's just a great guy to have around. The fact now that he's active will only enhance that."

Giambi's activation was part of a handful of roster moves that altered the makeup of the bench and bullpen.

Cleveland also promoted left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone from Triple-A Columbus. To clear room on the active roster for Giambi and Hagadone, the Indians optioned starter Corey Kluber to Triple-A and placed reliever Matt Albers on baseball's Paternity List.

The 42-year-old Giambi -- signed to a Minor League contract over the winter -- was originally in the plans for the Opening Day roster, but he was placed on the DL at the end of Spring Training. Now on Cleveland's bench, the veteran left-handed slugger will serve as a part-time designated hitter and pinch-hitter, garnering most of his at-bats against right-handed pitchers.

"I'm no longer a house guest. I'm part of the ballclub," said Giambi, who might be in the starting lineup Sunday. "It's fun. I'm excited about it and ready to get going."

Giambi served a similar role over the past few seasons for the Rockies, hitting .245 with a .370 on-base percentage over 211 games from 2010-12. In that span, Giambi hit 20 homers, drew 72 walks and knocked in 75 RBIs.

"It's great to have Jason active," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He made a huge impact on our team in the time he wasn't even on the field. We're excited to actually now have him on the active roster so he can make an impact on the field, in addition to off the field."

Hagadone was originally included on Cleveland's Opening Day roster, but he was optioned April 2 in order to place lefty starter Scott Kazmir on the roster. Kazmir was subsequently moved to the 15-day DL with a right ribcage strain, but by adding Kazmir to the 25-man roster, Cleveland was able to backdate his DL stint to the first game of the season.

"He made the Opening Day roster," Francona said of Hagadone. "We had the Kazmir thing happen, so we had to do the move. We explained it to Nick. To his credit, he didn't pout. He did it understanding that we wanted him here. We told him we'd try to get him here, and we did."

Kluber was promoted from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday for a start against the Yankees, but that game and Thursday's contest were postponed because of rain. As a result of the pair of rainouts, and a scheduled team off-day coming Monday, Cleveland no longer needed to carry Kluber on the pitching staff.

Albers can remain on Major League Baseball's Paternity List for up to three games.

Santana hit by ball but dodges severe injury

NYY@CLE: Santana exits game with injury in the ninth

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are counting their blessings that the injury sustained by catcher Carlos Santana earlier this week was not severe.

"I think we dodged a bullet," Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Francona said Friday that Santana's recovery from the left-hand bruise he sustained Monday had gone extremely well over the past few days. Cleveland's manager added that, if Santana continues to make solid progress, the catcher might be cleared to return to the field for Saturday's game against the White Sox.

With lefty Chris Sale slated to start for Chicago on Saturday, Santana would most likely be behind the plate with Mark Reynolds serving as the Tribe's designated hitter.

"He's progressing so well there's a chance he might play tomorrow," Francona said Friday. "We'll see. It depends on how he gets through batting practice and everything, taking into consideration how cold it is and everything. But he's doing well."

Through seven games this season, the switch-hitting Santana has hit .500 (13-for-26) with two home runs, four doubles, four walks, five runs and five RBIs for the Indians. In the ninth inning of Monday's loss against the Yankees, Santana got crossed up on a fastball from closer Chris Perez and was hit by the baseball on the left hand near his thumb.

"If that had hit him a couple inches closer to the thumb," Francona said, "that could've been really bad."

Quote to note

"His fingerprints are all over everything -- myself included. I bet you I've gone to him seven or eight times just asking him questions. His answers are always thoughtful and very helpful. That's appreciated. That can be a big deal in our game. When you have a guy that carries that weight, that players look up to, that's a big deal."
--Indians manager Terry Francona, on veteran Jason Giambi

Smoke signals

• Francona said Thursday that starter Ubaldo Jimenez had a "healthy" bullpen session Wednesday. On Friday, Francona corrected himself, noting that there were no health issues with Jimenez, who is scheduled to throw a side session Saturday in preparation for his next start Tuesday.

"Is that what I said? Maybe I misspoke," Francona said. "I meant that his stride foot was closed and he was throwing the ball downhill. I think I meant to say 'crisp.' [Healthy] was a bad word [to use]. He's very healthy. My point was he had a good side session, and we're trying to build off that."

• Kazmir, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a right ribcage strain, threw off a mound in a bullpen session Friday for the first time since sustaining the injury April 1. Barring any setbacks, Kazmir (eligible to be activated Wednesday) could be an option to start April 20, which is the first date Cleveland requires a fifth starter.

"That could potentially be Kazmir," Francona said Friday. "We'll see. If it's not Kazmir, we would certainly bring somebody up."

• The Indians had their scheduled games against the Yankees on Wednesday and Thursday postponed because of rain. It marked the first time since 2007, when Cleveland's first four home games were snowed out, that the Tribe had consecutive games called because of inclement weather.