July 25, 2014

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Indians: Santana sees plenty of action at 3B

Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana throws during an exhibition spring training game against the San Diego Padres Saturday. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana throws during an exhibition spring training game against the San Diego Padres Saturday. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

PEORIA, Ariz. — It had been a quiet start to the spring for converted third baseman Carlos Santana, but he saw plenty of action at his new position Saturday in the Indians’ 4-4, 10-inning tie with the Padres at Peoria Stadium.

Santana, whose fielding opportunities this exhibition season had been limited to four or five plays, made two routine plays on ground balls without incident through the first three innings.

Then he committed his second error in five games, when he threw high to first base on another routine grounder in the seventh. In the same inning, Santana made the play and throw on a sacrifice bunt.

Both of Santana’s errors have been on throws to first base.

“I think the one thing not to forget is he’s not the finished product,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s working really hard. If he can continue to get some rhythm. At times, he’ll catch the ball and then he doesn’t move his feet. He’s got plenty of arm, and that’s where you’re seeing him scatter a ball every once in a while. It’s still a work in progress. The good news is he’s willing to work.”

With the focus on defense and making the transition from catcher to third, Santana is not surprisingly off to a slow start offensively. He’s batting .200 (3-for-15) with a double and two RBIs.

Rockin’ Raburn

Ryan Raburn will miss some time after sustaining minor injuries when he crashed into the right-field wall Friday in Mesa, Ariz. Raburn went face-first into the wall, cutting his lip and bruising his left knee.

Raburn’s wife is pregnant and he is expected to leave the team next week for the birth. Francona said he would to get Raburn some at-bats before he departs.

Smooth operator

Left fielder Michael Brantley is living up to his nickname, “Dr. Smooth,” already looking polished at the plate. Brantley had four hits Saturday and is batting .615 (8-for-13) with three doubles and an RBI in five exhibition games.

“I’m stating the obvious,” Francona said. “He uses the whole field and he’s got a nice swing. I don’t know if it matters what time of year it is. He’s a good hitter.”

Brantley led the team with a .284 batting average last year.

Roundin’ third

  • Right-handers Zach McAllister, David Aardsma, Cody Allen and Preston Guilmet and lefty Josh Outman pitched in a simulated game in Goodyear.
  • The Indians have scheduled their second B game of the spring — Tuesday against the White Sox in Goodyear.
  • Today, 3:05 vs. Brewers at Goodyear Ballpark. Tomlin (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Peralta (0-0, 0.00).

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.