3/17/2014 9:00 P.M. ET
Tribe still views Santana as catcher by trade
Francona says converted third baseman will be behind plate against A's
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Santana has impressed the Indians with his transition to third base, but the club has no plans of telling him to pack away his catching gear.
Manager Terry Francona indicated on Monday morning that Santana is scheduled to start behind the plate during Wednesday's game against the A's at Goodyear Ballpark. Santana has only played third base for the Tribe up to this point in Cactus League play this spring.
"He caught the first five days of camp," said Francona, referring to Cleveland's early spring workouts. "And then, we told him that he would be exclusively a third baseman."
Francona added that Santana caught a bullpen session within the past week and was scheduled to do so again during Monday's morning workout.
Santana offered to try his hand at third base this spring in light of the emergence of Yan Gomes as the new starting catcher. Over the offseason, Santana began the transition from catching by working at third baseman in roughly 30 games in the Dominican Winter League.
The switch-hitting Santana is expected to open the season as Cleveland's cleanup hitter, so the team is keeping an open mind about how to use him defensively. Lonnie Chisenhall and Santana have split the playing time at third base this spring, and Santana can also serve as a part-time option at first base when he is not acting as the backup catcher. One thing Santana made clear last season is that he does not want to develop into a full-time designated hitter.
Santana has experienced some expected growing pains at third base -- he has a handful of errors this spring -- but Cleveland has been impressed with his overall play in the field and work behind the scenes. It is a unique situation for Francona, who said he is not entirely sure how Santana's defensive schedule will look in the two weeks leading up to the start of the season.
"I know he's going to catch Wednesday," Francona said. "We have Thursday off and I think Gomes is catching Friday and Saturday. We'll see. We'll see how it goes. I'm not sure we know quite exactly how it's going to go."
Marcum still working his way back to form
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It has been increasingly clear that right-hander Shaun Marcum will not be an option for Cleveland's Opening Day rotation. Marcum is behind the rest of the starting pitchers in camp and is taking things slow in his recovery from thoracic outlet syndrome.
None of this means the Indians do not feel that Marcum can serve as a solid backup option for the rotation during the regular season.
"I don't think they view it like that, and I don't blame them," manager Terry Francona said. "They're competing. But, we have to try to balance knowing that maybe we really like our starters, and we want to see them pitch, and you have to be prepared that, if somebody goes down, it doesn't derail your season. That's a really difficult, fine-line for a general manager to try to accomplish."
As things currently stand, Cleveland's rotation projects to include Opening Day starter Justin Masterson, followed by Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister. Danny Salazar is also a virtual lock to make the staff, but he will likely be slotted into the fifth spot. The last job is up for grabs among Carlos Carrasco (out of options), Josh Tomlin and Aaron Harang. Prospect Trevor Bauer also has an outside shot at that spot.
Marcum, 32, is in camp as a non-roster invitee after undergoing surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome in July. The right-hander went 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 14 games with the Mets last season, but is 58-46 with a 3.88 ERA in 188 career games in the Majors between stints with the Blue Jays, Brewers and Mets.
Most of Cleveland's starters have been built up to four or five innings by now, while Marcum is scheduled to throw his second live batting practice session of the spring on Tuesday. Francona indicated that a simulated game might be the next step.
"Shaun is coming back from some injuries," Francona said. "So, we knew he was going to be behind everybody else. When you get into the volume of Spring Training -- not just doing your throwing, but doing your [fielding], your side days -- we let the trainers, [the pitchers'] arms, themselves dictate the schedule.
"We've kind of gone on him, on how best to get him ready to pitch. If that takes a week, two weeks longer than we anticipated, that's really not a big deal."
Among cuts, Hagadone to work on consistency
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona believes that left-hander Nick Hagadone can still be a big part of the bullpen. Hagadone will just have to wait a little longer for his next opportunity in the big leagues.
On Monday, Hagadone was part of a handful of roster reductions in Cleveland's camp, removing the lefty from the bullpen competition. Hagadone and fellow left-hander Scott Barnes were optioned to Triple-A Columbus, while non-roster pitchers Travis Banwart, Tyler Cloyd, J.C. Ramirez and Mike Zagurski were all re-assigned to Minor League camp.
Francona felt the 28-year-old Hagadone had an up-and-down showing this spring.
"Some, really good. Some inconsistencies," Francona said. "I think the biggest thing we're trying to get Nick to do is make adjustments quicker. I think the thing he showed this camp is, if he came in and he had a walk, then he'd go back out and have a good inning. Now, we're trying to get to, 'OK, if you throw ball one up, let's reel it in right now,' as opposed to after one hitter.
"The biggest thing -- and it's hard, because when you send a guy down, that's not the best day for them to listen, and we totally understand that -- but it's just trying to, when the phone rings, we told him, 'Whether it's seven in the morning or seven at night, be ready to come in and compete. And enjoy when that phone rings, being ready.' That's probably the biggest thing we could tell him. And we will continue to follow up with him, because we need him in the Major Leagues helping us win."
In six Cactus League appearances this spring, Hagadone had a 2.57 ERA with six strikeouts, three walks and a .160 opponents' batting average in seven innings. Last season, the lefty posted a 5.46 ERA in 31 1/3 innings (30 strikeouts against 21 walks) in the Majors with Cleveland. Hagadone had a 2.51 ERA in 27 outings at Triple-A in 2013.
Ramirez was re-assigned to the Minor League side, but the right-hander is expected to miss at least two months due to a fractured left thumb.
The Indians also informed infielder Ryan Rohlinger that he will be re-assigned, but the Tribe is keeping him with the big league club for now. Rohlinger can help provide depth at a handful of infield spots, while utility men Mike Aviles and Elliot Johnson garner some innings in the outfield, and while utility man Ryan Raburn is away from the Indians for the birth of his second child.
Cleveland currently has 46 players in camp with the Major League club.
Quote to note
"I love our team. I love coming to the ballpark and watching them play. They're easy to like, because they try hard. But we don't know what's going to happen health-wise. Nobody knows that. That's part of the fun of it, though. There really are no guarantees. But when you can show up with a group of guys that you really respect the way they go about it, it makes the challenging times a lot more fulfilling. We know now that we can do it, so now we've got to go and try to do it better."
--Manager Terry Francona, on the season ahead
• Non-roster outfielder Nyjer Morgan was out of the lineup on Monday, marking the fifth straight day he has been sidelined with a mild left calf strain. Indians manager Terry Francona indicated that Morgan (a bench candidate) might be cleared to play as early as Tuesday.
"They're just looking out for my best interest," Morgan said on Monday morning. "Right now, I'd be my own worst enemy if I went out there."
• Francona noted on Monday that infielder Justin Sellers will likely miss a few games due to a "slight hip flexor strain." Sellers, who was acquired in a trade with the Dodgers on March 2, has impressed his new manager to this point in camp.
"Defensively, he's really something -- kind of as advertised," Francona said. "He likes to play. He's a fun kid. I think it took him about two days to kind of settle in. He's pretty quiet. Once he got a little comfortable, he's a good kid. Hopefully, this [injury] won't linger."
• Non-roster first baseman Bryan LaHair, who is returning from September surgery on his left wrist, hit for the first time in a Cactus League game on Sunday, going 0-for-3 against the Giants. Francona said the reports about LaHair's at-bats were positive.
"They said he swung the bat pretty well," Francona said. "It was a pretty good report. Again, your first three at-bats, whether he hits a ball 500 feet or he trickles one to second, you just want to see him get healthy and get some repetition."
• With starters Carlos Carrasco (five innings) and Danny Salazar (four innings) scheduled to pitch consecutively in Wednesday's Cactus League game against the A's, Tribe relievers Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, David Aardsma, Colt Hynes and Frank Herrmann are slated to work an inning apiece in a Minor League game that day.