Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Carlos Santana Playing Third Base in Winter Ball

Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana,  playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, has moved out from behind the plate to try his hand at third base,  a position where he has not appeared since the minor leagues.

Though it remains to be seen whether he can play the hot corner in the majors, his experiment is being welcomed by Indians manager Tony Francona,  who used multi-position versatility to vault the Indians to a playoff berth at the end of the 2013 season.

"The more versatile he is, the better team we're going to have,"  Francona told radio hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on the satellite network radio program Inside Pitch on Monday.  "...It may not be possible, but who knows."

Third base was Santana's original position.

Francona shuffled Santana between catcher,  first base and designated hitter last season to enhance matchups against various lefty and righty pitchers,  and create playing opportunities for Nick Swisher, Yan Gomes,  Mike Aviles and others.