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Santana leads the way in 12-7 win over Padres

Third base competition heats up as Santana stands out in the field, at the plate

Santana leads the way in 12-7 win over Padres
Carlos Santana (Photo: T.J. Zuppe)
March 12, 2014
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Goodyear, Arizona - Carlos Santana, deeply entrenched in a competition with Lonnie Chisenhall  to win the everyday third baseman job, made his case Tuesday, helping the Indians run away with a 12-7 win at the expense of the San Diego Padres.  Not only did Santana blast a two-run home run in the first inning, the catcher-turned-utility man looked very comfortable at third base and made two exceptional plays in the process. 

In the top half of the third inning, leadoff hitter Chris Denorfia hit a sharp groundball down the third-base line that took an unusual hop roughly eight feet into the Arizona air.  Santana ranged to his right, leaped to field the ball, and made a strong throw to gun down the speedy outfielder.  Later, in the fifth inning, center fielder Rey Fuentes hit a soft grounder to Santana's left.  Santana then ranged far into the third base-shortstop gap, fielded it, spun, and delivered a dart to first base to record the out. 

On the day, Santana recorded four putouts and displayed a diverse skill-set at the hot corner.  At the plate, the burly switch-hitter finished the day 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI, a run scored, and a walk. 

Offensively for the Indians, Lonnie Chisenhall notched a two-hit day, including a double off of the right-center wall to lead off the fifth inning.  Justin Sellers,  recently acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, added two hits, a run, and an RBI.  Backup catcher Luke Carlin tacked on a bases-clearing double in the ninth. 

On the mound for the Tribe, Corey Kluber made his fourth appearance of the spring, showing exceptional command and poise even when the Padres offense began hitting him hard.  Kluber, who had a breakout season in 2013, cruised through three innings before getting into trouble in the top half of the fourth. 

Xavier Nady and Alex Dickerson hit back-to-back doubles with one out in the inning, followed by an RBI single by Alex Castellanos.  Though three runs scored in the inning, the right-hander, acquired from the San Diego Padres as part of the Jake Westbrook trade in 2010, was able to work out of the jam without allowing more damage. 

On the day, Kluber surrendered three runs on six hits and didn't issue a walk.  He struck out four.  Immediately following the game, manager Terry Francona named Kluber the team's number two starter for the upcoming 2014 campaign. 

Following Kluber's departure, newly-acquired closer John Axford pitched a perfect fifth inning.  Axford has now allowed one run on three hits in four innings of Cactus League work. 

Mark Rzepczynski surrendered his first run of 2014 in his lone inning of work, bringing his spring ERA to 2.25 in four innings. 

Josh Outman, acquired from the Colorado Rockies via trade in the offseason, allowed one hit and no runs in one inning.  The lefty-specialist has yet to surrender a run in four appearances this spring. 

Also appearing in relief for the Tribe was Frank Herrmann, who struggled to put away the Padres in his first appearance since having Tommy John surgery.  In the top half of the ninth, Herrmann allowed three runs on four hits, including a two-run home run to Rymer Liriano.  Herrmann located his off-speed pitches well, but had trouble keeping his fastball down in the zone, resulting in all four hits coming via the fastball.

For the Padres, Nady had two hits, including a home run and double, while starting catcher Rene Rivera had two hits and an RBI.  Starting pitcher Tyson Ross struggled through 3 1/3 innings and exited after allowing three runs on four hits and three walks.

Next up for the Indians will be a Thursday matchup with the Kansas City Royals.  Right-hander Zach McAllister will make his third start of 2014, facing off with Jeremy Guthrie.  McAllister has looked sharp early on, sporting a 0.00 ERA through four innings of work.  First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm ET at Goodyear Ballpark. 

User Comments

March 13, 2014 - 4:42 PM EDT
"This is what he does- he has the same" swing hard in case you hit it" approach regardless of the situation. I don't think he's capable of recognizing situations and making adjustments."

hmm....Santana in 2013...

w/ bases empty: 20.2% K-rate, 13.2% walk rate, .212 BA/.705 OPS
w/ men on base: 13.6% K-rate, 15.9% walk rate, .335 BA/.979 OPS
w/ RISP: 12.9% K-rate, 20.2% walk rate, .285 BA/.916 OPS

But yes, he doesn't know how to hit or change his approach in key situations. I mean, he was only our best hitter with men on base...but yeah, let's trade him!!! lol
March 13, 2014 - 4:34 PM EDT
Santana leads the way? Did anybody just watch him whiff badly on 3 straight pitches with a runner on third and no out? This is what he does- he has the same" swing hard in case you hit it" approach regardless of the situation. I don't think he's capable of recognizing situations and making adjustments. If he's such a good player, trade him to some GM who believes that for a good LHSP.
March 13, 2014 - 2:04 PM EDT
Giambi now out 3-4 weeks with a fractured rib...

If Chiz isn't on this roster then you could be looking at 3 of Morgan, Frenchy, LaHair, Johnson, and Adams making this roster....
March 13, 2014 - 8:43 AM EDT
Walter, I don't see it as a battle at all for third base. I think it is what it is: Santana is going to play there, and what Lonnie does or doesn't do will determine how much. I'm just not sure how much Spring will decide, as opposed to how much Francona already knows. Chisenhall smoked to ball in both 2011 and 2013 in Spring, and it didn't translate at the major league level. In 2011 because he was still young and they wanted to protect service time...then injury. In 2013, because he was just plain bad.

This will be a season-long deal I believe, and not something that is decided in spring. We'll see what they do with their bench. Too bad he couldn't play in the outfield, or even first really.
March 13, 2014 - 8:22 AM EDT
Kluber looked good until he ran out of gas in the 4th inning. Named by Francona as # 2 starter to start the season. The battle for 3B continues. Herrmann looked rusty for his first appearance since his surgery of year ago. I think he will start the year in Columbus and could be an option for the Indians during the year.
Sellers has looked impressive since the Indians acquired him from the Dodgers.

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