DETROIT -- Manager Terry Francona doesn't want Carlos Santana to waver on his commitment to switching positions this season.
Santana agreed to play third base this season so Yan Gomes could become the regular catcher. Prior to Wednesday's game at Detroit, Santana told the media that switching positions has affected his hitting. Santana is hitting .170 with one RBI after his 0-for-4 outing in the opener of the two-game series.
Santana has started six games at third, three at catcher and five at designated hitter. He served as the DH against the Tigers on Wednesday.
Francona isn't about to shift gears this early into the season.
"I think what happens is when guys aren't swinging the bat, frustration can set in," he said. "He's our cleanup hitter and he's going to be a heck of a hitter. What he has done has helped us win a few games, just by being able to go behind the plate. If that's how he feels, I probably need to sit and talk with him to make him feel better about things because what he does is very valuable."
Francona is convinced that wherever Santana plays, he'll be productive at the plate. The Indians feel they're a better team with Gomes doing most of the catching and because he also brings 20-homer potential to the lineup.
Gomes, who had a crucial two-run triple on Wednesday, smacked 11 homers in 88 games last season and already has two this season. Santana should be fresher over the long haul by not having to deal with the rigors of catching on a regular basis.
"What I don't want to lose sight of is that the day before the season, he was all in. I don't want to let a slow start with the bat ruin that," Francona said. "I don't think I've ever had to bring up his offense because I know he's going to hit. Coming out of the gate like this happens all the time. You have inconsistent weather and inconsistent at-bats because of the weather, but guys have a way of getting to their level."
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Indians (RHP Danny Salazar, 0-1, 6.75 ERA) at Tigers (RHP Justin Verlander, 1-1, 2.57)
--RHP Danny Salazar will start Thursday's matinee in Detroit against Tigers ace Justin Verlander after one of the strangest outings in major league history. On April 10, Salazar became the first pitcher since at least 1900 to strike out 10 batters and fail to complete the fourth inning. He gave up five runs to the Chicago White Sox before he was pulled in the 7-3 loss. Salazar had two of his most memorable outings last year against Detroit. He struck out 10 batters in 7 2/3 innings on Aug. 7 before giving up a crushing two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera. He also tossed six scoreless innings at Comerica Park on Sept. 1 but got a no-decision.
--OF Ryan Raburn won't see his playing time affected by the return of CF Michael Bourn, who was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday. Raburn has started eight games and appeared in three others as a pinch-hitter. "Raburn is going to get a lot of at-bats, whether it's left field, right field, maybe even at first," manager Terry Francona said. "Right now, we have three guys on the bench. He will play a bunch."
--CF Michael Bourn (hamstring) made his season debut on Wednesday after being activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. He scored the game's first run after drawing a walk, then went 0-for-4 and also committed a ninth-inning error. Bourn was injured during a spring training game against San Francisco on March 16. He completed a five-game rehab assignment over the weekend. Cleveland was 43-17 last season when Bourn scored at least one run.
--RHP Justin Masterson had his next start moved from Thursday to Friday at home against Toronto because of Tuesday's postponement in Detroit. Masterson has been hit hard in his last two starts, giving up 10 runs in 8 1/3 innings. He also has struggled with his control, allowing nine walks in his three starts. It's a far cry from last season, when he allowed one earned run in his first three starts.
--RHP Zach McAllister won his second consecutive start on Wednesday with six strong innings against Detroit. He gave up one run and struck out four while throwing 97 pitches. McAllister threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in his previous outing against San Diego. "I was able to make the adjustments I wanted to in that previous start, got the ball down, and I was able to carry that over to (Wednesday)," he said.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Last year, the third time through the lineup, those guys were able to jump on me and put something together. It was nice to be able to go out there today and get through that fifth and sixth pretty smoothly." -- RHP Zach McAllister, who held Detroit to one run on four hits in six innings Wednesday.
--DH Jason Giambi (fractured rib) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He was sent on a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron on April 11.
RHP Justin Masterson
RHP Corey Kluber
RHP Zach McAllister
RHP Danny Salazar
RHP Carlos Carrasco
RHP John Axford (closer)
RHP Cody Allen
RHP Scott Atchison
LHP Josh Outman
RHP CC Lee
LHP Marc Rzepczynski
RHP Bryan Shaw
RHP Blake Wood
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
3B/C Carlos Santana
INF Mike Aviles
INF Elliot Johnson
INF Lonnie Chisenhall
LF Michael Brantley
CF Michael Bourn
RF David Murphy
DH Ryan Raburn
- Sports & Recreation
- Carlos Santana
- Terry Francona
- Michael Bourn
- Danny Salazar
- Yan Gomes