CLEVELAND -- Carlos Santana told the Indians training staff that he was ready to return to the lineup on Thursday. Manager Terry Francona considered playing his catcher on Friday, but decided against it because of cold, blustery conditions.
So Saturday appeared to be the day that Santana -- hitting .500 in 26 at-bats this season -- would resume his crouching position behind home plate. However, after he took batting practice and experienced some pain in his left thumb prior to Saturday's contest against the White Sox, that plan went awry.
Santana originally suffered a contusion to the digit after getting crossed up and taking a Chris Perez fastball to the area during Monday's loss to New York. Yan Gomes took Santana's place in Saturday's lineup, and hit his first homer as a member of the Indians.
"Everything was good. They said [Friday] night that I'd play catcher today," Santana said before discovering that he couldn't swing a bat consistently without feeling discomfort.
The Indians could benefit from Santana's bat. The 27-year-old tallied a career-high five hits, including a home run, during Cleveland's 13-0 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. In two contests since his injury, the Indians have scored only two runs.
Kipnis day to day with left elbow soreness
CLEVELAND -- Call it The Case of the Mysterious Elbow Soreness.
Jason Kipnis has been victimized for a second time this year. He battled soreness in his right elbow during Spring Training, and on Saturday, he awoke with a similar feeling in his left elbow, a mysterious malady that arrived without warning.
"He doesn't even know when he did it," said Indians skipper Terry Francona. "He thought the last time he might have slept on it wrong, because it didn't hurt last night and it was a little tender this morning."
Kipnis is batting .125 (4-for-32) in eight games this season. With White Sox southpaw Chris Sale on the mound, Francona had no problem resting his left-handed-hitting second baseman. Sale, 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA last season, has limited lefties to only one hit in 15 at-bats (.067 average) in two outings this year.
"[It's] just a little sore and I think we would like to keep it that way," Francona said. "Taking into consideration who we're facing, it just makes sense. Let this thing hopefully be a one-day thing. That's my thought."
Indians bullpen very well rested
CLEVELAND -- Tribe manager Terry Francona has preached incessantly about the importance of keeping his bullpen well rested. The belief explains why starter Brett Myers pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief in Tuesday's 14-1 loss to the Yankees.
After Myers' effort, two rainouts and Justin Masterson's complete-game shutout on Friday, no Indians reliever has pitched since Tuesday entering Saturday's game. Setup man Vinnie Pestano and right-hander Joe Smith haven't toed the rubber since Sunday. Bryan Shaw hasn't pitched since April 5.
"It's trying to use your bullpen correctly," Francona said. "When you're losing games badly, you don't want to use the guys you want to go to the next night when you're winning."
Several of the relievers have thrown extra sessions in the bullpen before games to keep their arms up to snuff. Pestano prefers to embrace the rest.
"You want to be out there, but when a guy is rolling like Masterson was last night, you have to let him go," Pestano said. "He's our horse. He's our ace. You want to pitch consistently, but at the same time you can't help what's happened the past few days."
• "It's been a while since I've been on a big league field, so I definitely can't wait to get out there,"
Indians reliever Nick Hagadone, who was recalled from Triple-A on Friday and has not pitched in a regular season game since July 6, 2012.
• The pair of Indians-Yankees games that were washed away by rain this week will be made up as a traditional doubleheader on May 13 at Progressive Field. The first game will begin at 12:05 p.m. ET, with the second contest starting 20 minutes after the end of the first. Fans with a ticket to either postponed affair can attend both parts of the doubleheader.
• Francona played prognosticator on Saturday, predicting designated hitter Jason Giambi would see his first action of the regular season on Sunday against Chicago right-hander Jake Peavy.
"I hate to make the lineup a day ahead of time," Francona said, "but I wouldn't be surprised if he plays tomorrow."
• With his walk-off single on Friday night, Indians first baseman Nick Swisher extended his Progressive Field hitting streak to 19 games, tied for the longest active hit streak at the ballpark and the second-longest streak all-time. Phillies infielder Michael Young pieced together a 20-game streak from 2004-08 as a member of the Rangers.