Tribe Quick Hits: Santana’s Position, Perez’s Debut, 1B/DH Shuffle, Bullpen
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Here are a few quick hits following Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona’s pregame chat with the media on Thursday at Progressive Field:
— Just because Roberto Perez was called up from Triple-A to be Cleveland’s back-up catcher, don’t expect Carlos Santana’s days to be completely over behind the plate. He can certainly be used in emergency situations and manager Terry Francona still believes Santana has the tools to be an everyday catcher. However, the emergence of Yan Gomes has allowed them to use Santana elsewhere.
— Perez will make his Major League debut on Thursday against the New York Yankees. He will bat ninth and catch starter T.J. House, a pitcher he is very familiar with due to their time together in the minors. The plan wasn’t to play Perez this quickly but Wednesday’s 14 inning game certainly changed their plans. In the meantime, Gomes gets a night off behind the dish.
— Santana continues to get the majority of time at first base, and appears to be getting more comfortable playing the position every day. One thing is certain: Santana prefers not to DH, recently leaving that spot to Nick Swisher. Francona indicated the idea behind playing Swisher a great deal at DH is beneficial – limiting the workload on Swisher’s previously injured knee. Santana’s recent solid play at first is making that decision that much easier – though, Francona would like to stay away from making Swisher exclusively a DH.
— Francona refused to call Wednesday’s 10th inning sequence the turning point in the game, but it was a big sequence nonetheless. With the bases-loaded and one out, Swisher struck out and David Murphy grounded out to end the inning, keeping the game tied at four. In his at-bat, Swisher missed the fastball he was craving and was put away by a breaking pitch. He appeared to be swinging for the fences, as opposed to looking to make solid contact. The Indians went on to lose the game in 14.
— Even though the All-Star break looms after Sunday’s contest with the Chicago White Sox, don’t expect any drastic changes in bullpen usage leading up to the four-day break. If anything, Francona said Cody Allen or Bryan Shaw may be used on Sunday – even if the club is trailing – just to keep them in rhythm heading into the break. Allen and Shaw have both indicated they like the full workload; both rely on it to stay sharp.
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