Carlos Santana returns from concussion at designated hitter

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Carlos Santana is back in the Indians’ lineup tonight after missing the past 10 days with a concussion and he’s batting cleanup, but manager Manny Acta has him in the designated hitter spot instead of catching.

Santana started at DH and homered yesterday in a minor-league rehab game to convince the Indians that he’s ready to return after taking a foul ball to the face mask on May 25.

Prior to the concussion Santana hit .245 with five homers and a .747 OPS in 43 games while making 31 starts at catcher, three starts at first base, and three starts at DH.

In his absence Lou Marson took over as the primary catcher, with Luke Carlin backing him up.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.