© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

09/08/12 7:58 PM ET

Canzler making case for roster spot in 2013

MINNEAPOLIS -- Indians manager Manny Acta said it's too early to speculate on Russ Canzler's possible role with the Indians next season. But so far in September, the 26-year-old is doing his best to make sure he has a spot.

Canzler's fifth game with the Indians on Friday's since being recalled on Sept. 1 proved to be his best yet. Canzler went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and hit his first career home run, a pivotal blast in Cleveland's 7-6 win over Minnesota.

His teammates took notice.

"He had a great game," Michael Brantley said. "It's phenomenal to see him come up here. He looks very comfortable at the plate. He's put up good, quality Major League at-bats every time, and that's all you can ask from him."

Those Major League at-bats have led to good Major League numbers in five games for the Indians entering Saturday. Canzler is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a double and home run, though all three of his RBIs came in Friday's game.

He didn't exactly come out of nowhere, either, putting together a strong 2012 campaign for Triple-A Columbus. Canzler hit .265 with a team-leading 22 home runs and 79 RBIs in 130 games before getting the call.

And while Acta wasn't ready to carve out a spot for Canzler in the Indians 2013 Opening Day lineup just yet, he didn't hesitate to praise him.

"He gives quality at-bats," Acta said. "He's quiet at the plate. He uses the whole field. He will just give you comfort when he's at the plate because he's not jumping around and off-balance or anything like that. That's what he's done so far."

Kotchman still slick with the leather

MINNEAPOLIS -- As far as Manny Acta is concerned, Casey Kotchman might as well be a shortstop playing first base.

Kotchman continues to play some of the most reliable first base defense in baseball. His .995 fielding percentage this season is the fourth-best among American League first basemen. The 29-year-old's sure-handedness is not a new development, either, as Kotchman has led all Major League first basemen in fielding percentage in each of the last four seasons.

What makes him so good?

"He's got shortstop hands and terrific instincts," said Acta. "He turns that 3-6-3 double play better than most of the people I've ever seen play first base. It starts with the feet ... the first throw to get the first out -- [he's] always good, strong feet and right on the money, and that's how the play develops. A lot of people are so methodical making that play."

Offensively, Kotchman's 12 home runs this year are his most since 2008. But his greatest value to the Indians clearly lies in his glove. His .998 career fielding percentage at first base is the best mark in Major League history.

"He's been good for a long time," Acta said.

Smoke signals

• Chris Perez's 35th save of the season on Friday also pushed him up the Indians' all-time saves leaderboard. It was his 95th save with Cleveland, advancing him past Mike Jackson for fourth among the club's all-time saves leaders. Jose Mesa is next on the list at 104 saves, and Bob Wickman's 139 tops the list.

• Double-A Akron's 4-3 win over Bowie on Friday guaranteed the team will be alive for at least one more Eastern League Playoff game. Akron hosts Bowie again on Saturday night with Bowie leading the series, 2-1. Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall -- currently on a rehab assignment with Akron -- could return to the club immediately if the Aeros are eliminated.

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.