Normally when you have a good-hitting catcher who doesn’t profile as a Gold Glover, you think about making him a DH or a first baseman. The Indians aren’t doing that with Carlos Santana, however. Paul Hoynes reports that they’ve talked to him about playing third base down in the Dominican Republic this year and have him taking ground balls at third as a part of his offseason workouts.
Yan Gomes took over the Indians’ catching job late in the season and was lights-out in 322 plate appearances, and clearly Cleveland would love to have both of their bats available. First base isn’t an option because of Nick Swisher and, with a camp invite for Jason Giambi for 2014, DH may be occupied too (it’s a good place to give Swisher a breather as well). Also worth noting that the Indians have a catching prospect named Fransico Mejia who, while still only 18, is supposed to a beast, so it’s not like flipping Gomes, for example, would solve the problem long-term. Mejia could have that job in a few short years.
Santana and Gomes splitting time behind the dish, Santana playing DH a lot and, when he can’t, spotting at third base? I suppose stranger things have happened. But given the overall impression Santana’s defensive skills give a guy, don’t hold your breath until you see him playing the hot corner in a major league game.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.