Friday, February 18, 2011

Indians to Give Santana Time at First Base

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that the Indians are going to have catcher Carlos Santana learn how to play first base.
"Next thing on Santana's spring-training checklist is learning how to play first base.  Eduardo Perez and Mike Hargrove, former first basemen and recently hired by the Indians, will help him in the weeks to come."
While Santana will retain his job as the starting catcher, the Indians have decided to teach him first base as a way to try to keep him in the lineup while giving his legs a break.  While this makes sense logically, his bat loses significant value going from the strongest defensive position on the diamond (catcher) to one of the weakest (first base).   While he showed a lot of promise swinging the bat last season, it's far too early to tell if he'll provide enough offense to justify playing him at first.  Still, versatility is never a bad thing, so at the very least it allows the Indians greater positional flexibility.

The Indians intend to play Santana at first base in a few Cactus League games.  There's no word as to whether or not he'll play first base once the season starts.

Santana spent some time playing third base while in the Dodger organization, so the transition to first base should be pretty painless.

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