4/13/2014 10:08 P.M. ET
Santana's versatility a luxury for Tribe
By Joe Popely / MLB.com
CHICAGO --- Carlos Santana, now the Indians' starting third baseman, moved back to his natural position behind the plate for the third time this season on Saturday to spell Yan Gomes.
The rotation is designed to keep Santana fresh and reduce the stresses catching has on his body while taking advantage of his potent bat.
"No team has their backup catcher as their cleanup hitter … that's a pretty big advantage," manager Terry Francona said.
Santana has started in all 12 games this season, including six at third and three as the designated hitter, where he was slotted for Sunday's game. Francona applauded Santana's ability to take care of his body while switching positions so frequently.
"Well he does anyway. He always does," Francona said. "He's a little beat up today, that's why we're DHing him. And that will certainly be something we'll have to keep track of."
Santana is off to a slow start in 2014. Through 12 games, he's put up a slash line of .179/.396/.231 with no home runs and just one RBI. Francona said Santana's rotation between positions is not the reason for his early struggles.
"He's not swinging that bat right now like he can, but no. He's gonna, he's a good hitter," Francona said.
Chisenhall back with Tribe after birth of son
CHICAGO --- Lonnie Chisenhall returned from paternity leave on Sunday after three days away to attend to the birth of his second son, Cannon, on Thursday. The third baseman wasn't in Sunday's starting lineup, but he was on the field several hours before the game taking ground balls.
"[It] felt good to be back," he said. "I took BP, ground balls and everything, so it's back to a normal day and that's just the way you want it to be."
The Indians and manager Terry Francona gave Chisenhall all the time he needed.
"I was allowed 72 hours, and it was a good 72 hours -- I was able to use all of them, and luckily it was a short travel here to Chicago."
The Indians sent down infielder Justin Sellers to make room for Chisenhall.
"Everything went good at home. We talked to Sellers last night once we knew Lonnie was going to be here, and he shows up with a smile, and I think he feels good about things," Francona said.
Nyjer helps coax Tito into challenging call
CHICAGO --- In the first inning of the Indians' win over the White Sox on Saturday, Nyjer Morgan was initially called out on a pickoff play, but manager Terry Francona challenged the call, which was overturned.
The review took just 22 seconds and led to a big inning for the Tribe. Morgan, who led off the inning with a single, would have been the second out. The Indians took advantage of the overturned call and scored three runs on a two-run single by Michael Brantley and an RBI fielder's choice by Asdrubal Cabrera.
"I probably had the worst view in the house, but Nyjer insisted he was safe -- and that's not always the end all -- but [first-base coach] Sandy [Alomar Jr.] said he was safe," Francona said. "They looked for 22 seconds and got it right, and that ended up helping us."
Morgan's refusal to leave the base led to a humorous exchange between Francona and first-base umpire Gerry Davis, precisely because Francona didn't see the play or initial call clearly.
"I know, it really screwed me up," Francona said with a laugh. "I went out there and said, 'Gerry, did you call him safe?' And he said, 'No.' OK, I said, 'Then we're going to appeal, because he's still here.' I thought maybe I missed something."
Francona also acknowledged that players will by nature insist a close safe/out call went their way, regardless of reality.
"Players during a game aren't going to be able to just be honest. That's why they do that, because it's the emotion of the game," Francona said. "But we did explain to him that it's not going to be personal replays, they're team replays. We have to do what we think will help our team. And we have a replay guy -- we certainly watch how people react to plays, because sometimes that's why you go out in the past to argue or to check -- but we have a replay guy, so we can check."
Quote to note
"I'd rather us be winning from the first inning on, but it doesn't always work that way. When things aren't going perfect, keep playing. That's the best way we know how to do it. Sometimes, when you push enough, you find ways to win games that are harder to win."
-- Francona on his team's knack for winning in come-from-behind fashion.
• The Indians are one of six teams yet to play an extra-inning game.
• The Tribe bullpen has only allowed one of 18 inherited runners to score and is 4-for-4 in save situations
• Cleveland starters are averaging just over five innings per start.
• Michael Bourn and Jason Giambi, who both continued their rehab assignments on Friday for Double-A Akron before taking Saturday off, were set to play for Akron again Sunday.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.