Last week Carlos Santana told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he’s been preparing to play third base regularly this season and expects that to be his primary position following a move from catcher.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer talked to Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, who was slightly less definitive about the situation:
We have not made a decision at third base. That’s what spring training is for. But Carlos has gotten a tremendous head start due to the work he’s put in this offseason. It started with him working at our complex in the Dominican Republic with our coaches. And it transitioned into winter ball.
I think Carlos has approached it that he wants to work as hard as he can to be the best third baseman he can be. … We feel good about our options there. We continue to believe in Lonnie Chisenhall and his potential. And Carlos can only enhance his impact on the team and our goal of becoming a better ball club.
In addition to Lonnie Chisenhall the Indians also have Mike Aviles as an option at third base, so Hoynes speculates that Santana will have to impress during spring training to win the starting job and the position could end up with a time-sharing arrangement of some sort. Meanwhile, the idea that Yan Gomes is now the Indians’ starting catcher seems to be widely accepted by everyone.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.