Francona using a conservative approach for Salazar

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians provided a controlled environment for Danny Salazar's first game action of Spring Training. Rather than throw him into a Cactus League contest, Cleveland wanted to give the right-hander a comfortable first step in his build-up to the regular season.

On Friday morning, Salazar took the mound on Field 6 at the Tribe's spring complex and faced six Minor League batters in an intrasquad "B" game. With that completed, Salazar is scheduled to make his official spring debut during a home game against the Angels on Monday.

"It was very encouraging," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said of Salazar's showing on Friday. "He was really good. That's what we wanted. We wanted him to ease into what he's got going on right now. He should be ready for two innings in a real game now."

Salazar is slated to log two frames as the starter for Monday's game against Los Angeles at Goodyear Ballpark.

During Friday's game, Salazar allowed one unearned run because of a fielding error by the shortstop on the first pitch of his outing. The right-hander finished with three strikeouts (two on swings) and he induced one groundout. Salazar's lone hiccup came when 16-year-old Willy Castro -- an international signee out of the Dominican Republic -- singled up the middle on his final pitch.

Overall, Salazar logged 21 pitches, topped out at 96 mph on the radar gun and stayed around 93 mph for the most part, according to Callaway.

"His slider and changeup are there," Callaway said. "Obviously, fastball command is the main concern this early in spring. Once he gets out there in a little more extended innings, we'll get to see exactly where he is with that. But, yeah, it was very encouraging. That's where we want him to be right now."

Salazar is slighly behind the rest of Cleveland's pitchers in terms of innings this spring, but the Indians have indicated that the righty will be ready to join the Opening Day rotation. On Thursday, manager Terry Francona hinted that Salazar might be slotted into the fifth slot, which could delay his regular-season debut until April 8.

"We'll see where we're at," Francona said on Thursday. "I guess I don't get too caught up in it, because we care so much about getting him ready for his career that a week in April is not the end of the world."

Tribe moving forward with Santana's transition

Francona on Santana at third, Brantley's value

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona has been impressed with how Carlos Santana has looked at third base this spring. Cleveland plans on moving forward with the catcher's transition, and will have a meeting in the next few days to map out a plan for the rest of camp.

On Friday, Francona said the third-base situation will become more complicated soon because of position players starting to play in consecutive Cactus League games. The Tribe's manager said he needs to figure out how to properly divvy up playing time between Lonnie Chisenhall and Santana.

"It's going to get a little interesting for me here in the next week or so," Francona said. "That's when guys start playing back-to-back days, and we may not be certainly ready to make a decision [about third base]. So we're going to have to be a little creative, because I don't want to short either one of them at-bats."

Asked when Santana might add catching back to the equation, Francona did not have a clear answer.

"I would say in the next three or four days, we're going to sit down and talk through it," Francona said. "It's a little bit of uncharted waters. You don't see anybody playing third and catching in the big leagues, but if he's able to do it, it opens up a lot of different things. The first thing we're going to do is sit and talk."

Santana has looked more comfortable at third base during workouts than in Cactus League games up to this point, but Francona said the team is more focused on the effort behind the scenes. The manager said there has not been enough in game scenarios yet to properly evaluate Santana's progress.

"Carlos looks fine," Francona said. "If he is the third baseman, you're not going to know how he handles it until he's asked to handle it. How many balls have been hit to him? Four? That's just not a fair sample size. You almost hope people hit balls to him.

"But then, if he makes an error in Goodyear, do you say, 'Oh, he can't be our third baseman?' I think we go more on his daily work and things like that. That's all been really good."

Giambi refuses to pull rank on spring road trips

Underwood discusses Giambi's veteran leadership

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With nearly two decades spent in the big leagues, veteran Jason Giambi could walk into Terry Francona's office and request that the Indians manager only use the aging slugger in home games for Spring Training.

That is not in Giambi's character.

"I could do that," Giambi said. "But then I would make his job more difficult, and that's not what I'm here for. I'm here to have fun. At times, when he'd be in a pinch, I'd even say, 'Hey, I'll go take seven Minor League at-bats.' It doesn't bother me. The most important thing is trying to be ready for Game 1."

Well, surely the 43-year-old Giambi drives his SUV to road games.

"I take the bus," he said with a laugh. "But then I have one of the clubhouse kids come drive over and come pick me up. I'm not stupid."

Francona was quick to note that making road trips during Spring Training is easier in Arizona, where no commute is more than 45 minutes from Cleveland's facility. Things are different for teams that train in Florida during the spring.

That said, Francona knows that Giambi would never ask to skip a road game.

"[That's] part of what makes 'G' special," Francona said. "That's not part of his program."

Giambi also takes pride on being a leader in the clubhouse and setting an example for the younger players on the roster. If the 19-year veteran is willing to hop on the bus for the longest road trip of the spring, it would be hard for a younger player to complain about doing the same thing.

"One person is not more important than this team," Giambi said.

Quote to note

"I'm not going to be a power hitter. I can tell you that right now. I'm not going to hit 50 home runs -- I promise you that. Eventually, I'll run into a few, but that's not my game. My game is just getting on base, stealing bases, making things happen. And making sure I make every routine play, and making sure I'm always positive and trying to help my teammates."
-- Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor, on his offensive approach

Smoke signals

• Francona was not willing to say specifically when the club will make its first roster cuts of Spring Training, but he did note that Minor League games are not scheduled to begin until March 14. Cleveland might wait until around then to begin moving some of its younger players back to the Minor League side.

"If you do make cuts," Francona said, "you want to make sure you're not setting guys back that are already in game shape. At some point, certainly you're going to see some cuts, but I don't know if it makes a lot of sense to announce ahead of time."

• In the bottom of the second inning on Friday, Indians right fielder Ryan Raburn crashed hard into the right-field wall at Cubs Park on a home run by Kris Bryant. Raburn initially remained in the game, but was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the third. Raburn was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and is considered day to day. He will be evaluated on Saturday.

• Indians right-hander Shaun Marcum has been on a conservative program this spring, as he continues to come back from July surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome. Marcum (a non-roster invitee) will take an important step on Tuesday, when he is scheduled to throw a live batting practice for the first time this spring.

• Cleveland will hold an intrasquad "B" game at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday at its Minor League complex. Starter Zach McAllister, as well as relievers David Aardsma, Josh Outman and Preston Guilmet are all scheduled to pitch in the abbreviated contest.

• Indians first baseman Bryan LaHair, who has been working his way back from September surgery on his left wrist, is scheduled to hit during Saturday's "B" game. Up to this point, LaHair has been limited to cage work for hitting and defensive drills.